What Does Nursing Malpractice Look Like?

What Does Nursing Malpractice Look Like?When most people think about medical malpractice, they think about doctors or surgeons making errors, resulting in injuries, disabilities, illnesses, and other complications. Nurses may not always be named a malpractice case because most people put all the blame on their doctor or the policies of a facility. However, any type of healthcare provider can behave in a negligent manner, including nursing professionals.

What is nursing malpractice?

Nursing malpractice is malpractice committed by nursing professionals. Nurses typically handle all the hands-on and individualized patient care. Therefore, they have many opportunities to harm a patient with their actions or inaction. Nursing malpractice may occur when a nursing professional fails to act in a way that a reasonable nurse with the same level of experience, education, and training would have acted (or not acted) given the same circumstances.

What types of nurses can commit nursing malpractice?

While most people only think of nurses that work in a hospital setting, there are many different types of nurses that assist patients in various settings. For example, nurses are employed in nursing homes, long-term care facilities, assisted living facilities, rehabilitation centers, and even patient homes. Many different types of nurses can act negligently and commit nursing malpractice, including:

  • Long-term care nurses
  • Surgical nurses
  • Pediatric nurses
  • Hospice nurses
  • Labor and delivery nurses
  • Critical care nurses
  • Oncology nurses
  • Psychiatric nurses
  • Nurse assistants
  • Directors of nursing
  • Doctor’s office nurses

There are also different professional levels of nursing based on education and experience; for example, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, advanced practice registered nurses, nurse practitioners, and certified nursing assistants. Nurses work under the doctor’s supervision, even advanced practice registered nurses and nurse practitioners.

Examples of nursing malpractice in nursing homes, long-term care facilities, hospitals, and other settings

It is important to understand what nursing malpractice looks like. Whether you or a loved one are recovering from surgery in the hospital, living in a nursing home, just gave birth, or require around-the-clock help at home, nursing malpractice is a real threat. Examples of nursing malpractice might include:

  1. Medication mistakes and errors: One of the main duties that nurses are responsible for is providing medications to patients. A simple mistake or error could be deadly. For example, if a nurse does not make sure that they are giving the patient the proper dosage or check for history of medical allergies, the patient could have an allergic reaction, overdose, or even die. If the patient is pregnant, giving the improper medications could also cause birth defects.
  2. Lack of monitoring: Nurses are also in charge of keeping a close eye on patients. Nurses should regularly check on the patient, keep track of their condition, ensure that they are recovering, and remain informed on their vital signs. Whether there is a small or big change in the patient’s condition, the nurse is required to let the doctor know. If they do not adequately monitor the patient, injuries or illnesses could become worse, resulting in disabilities, complications, or even death.
  3. Failure to document: Any time that a nurse interacts with a patient or evaluates a patient’s condition, they must update their records and document everything. For instance, they must ensure that they document the medication dosages and times the medication was given, vital signs and what time they were taken, and any complaints or comments made by the patient. If they fail to document this information or leave out any important details, the doctor may be unaware of the patient’s condition or the medications they were previously given, which could lead to dangerous or fatal consequences.
  4. Causing injuries to patients: Regardless of whether accidental or intentional, nurses undergo the necessary training and education to carry out their duties without injuring patients. Therefore, if a patient is dropped, harmed by equipment, or falls due to a spill left on the floor, this could be considered negligence on the nurse’s part.
  5. Failure to control infections: Patients in hospitals, nursing homes, and long-term care facilities are at risk of developing illnesses and infections. To prevent infections and illnesses from spreading, nurses are trained on how to follow certain protocols. They must wash their hands frequently, wear gloves, properly replace and sterilize equipment, safely change linens, safely handle food, and more. Failure to do this can lead to infections spreading from resident to resident, which could be considered negligence.
  6. Abuse: No one should ever have to endure any type of abuse. However, the harsh reality is that many of our loved ones are subject to this type of behavior when living in long-term care facilities. Some of the common forms of abuse committed by nurses include physical abuse, emotional abuse, or sexual abuse.
  7. Neglect: While nursing home residents are most at risk, neglect can occur in any type of medical setting. When a person is neglected by a nurse, their needs and wants are typically ignored or dismissed. As a result, they may become malnourished, dehydrated, or develop bedsores.

The signs you should look for to identify nursing malpractice

If you believe that your family member or loved one may be at risk of nursing malpractice, warning signs might include:

  • Their condition not improving despite treatment
  • Losing weight
  • Recurring infections or illnesses
  • Bed sores
  • Soiled clothing or linens
  • Confusion about vitals or medications
  • Inability to communicate with nurses
  • Nurses seeming disinterested in questions and concerns
  • New injuries
  • Appearing afraid or nervous around the nurse
  • Seeming very hungry or thirsty

Can you sue a nurse for malpractice in Cherry Hill?

Yes, you can file a lawsuit for nursing malpractice in Cherry Hill, NJ. Sometimes your lawsuit will be filed against the nurse, but it may also include other parties, such as the supervising doctor, the hospital, nursing home, supervising registered nurse, doctor’s office, and more. To ensure you get the compensation you deserve, it is essential to consult with a Cherry Hill nursing malpractice attorney as soon as possible.

How to prove nursing malpractice

You and your lawyer will prove nursing malpractice by providing sufficient evidence that the nurse acted negligently while caring for you or a family member. Evidence that may be beneficial to your nursing malpractice case includes:

  • Medical records
  • Accident reports
  • Prescriptions
  • Photos and videos
  • Witness statements

The Cherry Hill nursing malpractice lawyers at Ferrara & Gable know how frustrating nursing malpractice cases can be. When you are injured or sick, you expect nurses to support and care for you until you recover. When they fail to do this, they should be held accountable for their careless and reckless behavior. If you are ready to get assistance with your claim, please call our office in Cherry Hill or submit our contact form to schedule a free case evaluation today. We also represent clients who have experienced negligence in nursing homes or long-term care facilities. We proudly serve all of South Jersey.

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