Nurses play an extremely important role in the medical field. Nurses are responsible for providing the bulk of routine care in hospitals and nursing homes, from administering medications to monitoring patient vital signs. Nurse practitioners and nurse midwifes may also conduct exams, deliver babies, provide patient education and otherwise fill roles that many people believe are traditionally within the purview of medical doctors.
Because nurses play such an important role in providing patient care, it is essential that they are well-trained and that they perform their duties with a reasonable degree of care. When a nurse makes a mistake or fails to act with competence, it can have serious consequences on a patient’s health or on the outcome of a patient’s treatment.
If you or a loved one suffered harm as a result of a nursing error, you may be able to take legal action. A medical malpractice claim can potentially be made against the nurse, as well as against the supervising physician and hospital or healthcare provider. An Atlanta medical malpractice attorney will help you to understand what your options are after a nursing error has occurred and will assist you in taking the necessary steps to get the compensation you deserve.
The Dangers of Nursing Errors
Nursing errors can have serious consequences. The impact of an error on a patient’s health is going to depend upon the type of error that is made by the nurse. Some of the most common types of nursing errors that can cause harm include:
Administering the wrong medication.
According to American Nurse Today, administration errors account for between 26 and 32 percent of all medication errors. Because nurses are largely responsible for administering medication, often it is nurses who are making these mistakes.
Administering the wrong dose of medication.
Sadly an incorrect dose of medication can have deadly consequences. A recent MSNBC News story in 2011 highlighted the tragedy that can occur when a nurse makes a mistake: in this story, a nurse administered an eight-month-old infant with 10 times the appropriate medical dose. The baby died as a result and the nurse subsequently committed suicide several months later.
Failure to respond appropriately to a change in vital signs or patient condition.
Nurses typically provide day-to-day care and are in the best position to notice when something is going wrong or a patient’s health is declining. Failure to notify a doctor when alarming changes occur in a patient’s vital signs or health status can be a major nursing error.
Failure to provide basic patient supervision and care.
When a nurse fails to tend to a patient’s hygiene, food needs and other needs, a patient can develop bedsores, become malnourished or suffer other consequences as a result. This can happen both in nursing homes and in hospitals.
Failure to secure a patient from falling.
Nurses need to be careful in transporting patients and must ensure that they are secured in beds and wheel chairs when there is a danger of falling.
These are just some examples of situations in which nursing errors can occur and can harm patients. When nurse practitioners or nurse midwifes play a more involved role in patient care, the risk of nursing errors is also exacerbated. For example, a nurse may fail to properly diagnose or treat a condition.
Atlanta Medical Malpractice Attorneys Help When Nursing Errors Occur
Nurses, like doctors and other healthcare providers, are held accountable to patients. If a nurse breaches a duty owed to a patient and harm results, then a medical negligence or medical malpractice lawsuit can arise.
An Atlanta medical malpractice attorney can help you to determine if you have a case against a nurse after a nursing error has occurred. Both victims of nursing errors as well as family members of those who have died as a result of nursing errors can take legal action. However, in order to make a case and recover compensation after a nursing error, you will need to have conclusive proof that the nurse breached a duty and was more negligent than a reasonable healthcare provider would have been in the same situation. An Atlanta medical malpractice lawyer can help you to determine if a nurse’s actions or inactions constitute negligence.
In addition, nurses are often not the only ones held responsible for nursing mistakes. Doctors who supervise them and hospitals who establish policies, such as lengthy nursing shifts or hiring requirements for nurses, can also be held accountable. Atlanta medical malpractice attorneys can assist you in determining all potential defendants in a medical malpractice lawsuit arising out of nursing errors.
Have You Been The Victim Of Medical Malpractice?
If you or a loved one has been injured due to a medical error you need to speak with a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our office directly at 855.GA.INJURY or 404.991.5950 to schedule your free consultation.