It is not only physicians and surgeons who can be held accountable for medical malpractice; nurses and other medical professionals are also responsible to give competent and efficient care for their patients.
Nurses have more interaction with patients and are often the ones in charge during daily care. When nurses make errors, or are negligent in their duties, causing harm to their patient, it can be considered medical malpractice.
Nursing negligence can occur in a variety of settings, including hospital stays, nursing homes, and in-home care. Negligence is present when a nurse does not perform his duties at the expected level of competence for his position. This can be considered the responsibility of the nurse, the overseeing physician, or the facility he works for, depending on the circumstances.
Common Types of Nursing Negligence
As with all medical malpractice cases, nursing home negligence must meet certain criteria. The negligence or errors must have been preventable and caused harm or injury to the patient. Mistakes can happen in any profession, but there are accepted standards that medical professionals are expected to meet. When those standards are not met by a nurse and a patient is harmed as a direct result, it may be a case of negligence and medical malpractice. Some common types of nursing negligence include:
- Medication errors: wrong dose or wrong medication
- Poor monitoring of symptoms, vital signs or patient’s condition
- Not reporting changes in a patient’s condition to a physician
- Improper documentation on a patient’s chart
- Procedural errors, such as improper IV insertion or catheter placement
A missed or unreported change in a patient’s condition or the wrong medication can lead to serious injury or even death of the patient. Nurses have a responsibility to adhere to the accepted practices in monitoring, reporting and caring for patients, but so do the doctors and facilities where they work. In some cases, it is a lack of training or other issue that leads to nursing negligence. In some cases, the doctors and employing facilities may also be liable for medical malpractice when a preventable nursing error occurs.
Experienced Nursing Negligence Lawyers
If you or a loved one has been harmed due to a nursing error or mistake, you have legal rights. In Louisiana, the burden of proof is put on the patient, and there are stringent laws in place that protect medical professionals from liability. You need an experienced legal team to investigate and help you prove negligence and harm and to seek compensation in a meritorious claim, when injury occurs under the care of a nurse, physician, or medical facility.
At Nelson & Hammons, we focus on medical malpractice and have made this complicated legal field our area of concentration for over 30 years. Call our office in Lafayette or Shreveport to schedule a consultation with one of our team to find out more about pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit.