It can be complicated to understand the difference between negligence and malpractice in nursing. Both terms are often used in the context of lawsuits against medical professionals.
Negligence is one element of malpractice. Negligence refers to instances when a medical professional fails to provide reasonable care or skill as would be expected for a patient’s needs. All medical professionals, including nurses, are expected by law to provide a patient with a standard duty of care. This means a nurse should manage, monitor, treat, and perform duties according to a reasonable standard.
For example, when a baby has developed jaundice after delivery, a nurse may be expected to monitor this condition for any changes in symptoms. A failure to do so may be a form of negligence.
When an act of negligence directly leads to a patient’s injury, this becomes a case of medical malpractice. In other words, malpractice occurs when a doctor or nurse’s negligence leads to complications, worsening of a condition, or leads to the need for more treatment. When a doctor or nurse’s negligence becomes a case of malpractice, a victim may be able to pursue a lawsuit.
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Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim for a Nurse’s Negligence
Several elements of evidence need to be established when pursuing a medical malpractice case against a nurse, including:
- The nurse owed you a standard duty of care
- The nurse breached their standard duty of care, committing an act of negligence
- An injury occurred because the nurse breached their standard duty of care
- There is a link between the injury and the negligent action of the nurse
It will be particularly important to establish that a nurse’s actions directly resulted in the injury. In some cases, it may appear that a patient’s underlying conditions may have lead to an injury. To demonstrate liability, you will need to show that the harm was caused directly by a professional’s negligence.
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Forms of Negligence in Nursing That Can Lead to Malpractice
Almost all medical procedures come with inherent risks. In some cases, negligence is not the cause of medical incidents such as birth injuries. However, medical errors happen. When they do, they can cause serious consequences for you, your baby, and your family.
Among nursing malpractice lawsuit settlements, a failure to diagnose and a failure to report observations are some of the most common negligence claims, according to a report from the Nurses Service Organization.
Common forms of negligence in nursing that can lead to malpractice can include:
- Improper drug administration
- Inaccurate documentation
- Irresponsible use of equipment
- Improper use of equipment
- Failing to document
- Failure to assess and monitor
Many times, it is not necessarily the nurse’s negligence that causes an initial health problem. However, a nurse’s response to symptoms can be crucial in administering appropriate care. For example, if your baby begins to present signs of brain bleeding and a nurse fails to respond to the baby’s care needs, this can be a damaging form of negligence.
Outcomes that can occur due to a nurse’s mishandling of a patient’s or baby’s condition can result in life-altering health effects.
Liability for Negligence And Malpractice in Nursing
It may be helpful to speak with an attorney to determine how to proceed with your medical malpractice lawsuit. It is important to understand that if you believe a nurse was negligent in treating and managing a pregnancy or birth, you may need to file a lawsuit with another party who can be held legally responsible for the nurse’s misconduct.
To sue for a nurse’s negligence, either the attending doctor or the hospital may be the primary liable parties in your case.
It is most likely that a nurse will be employed by a hospital. Therefore, when a nurse makes a mistake, the hospital may be held responsible. Considering this complexity, there may be a great deal of investigative work that must be conducted in order to distinguish liability and the extent of liability. This can make a difference when it comes to your settlement.
For example, if the hospital knew about the misconduct or continuous negligent actions of the nurse but failed to do anything about it, this may be an important factor in demonstrating the hospital’s liability. Depending on the situation, this form of negligence may warrant steeper fines, penalties, and compensation in your medical malpractice lawsuit.
It is important to remember that if you plan to pursue a lawsuit involving multiple parties, more investigation work may need to be done to build a case. This process can take time.
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When Negligence in Nursing Causes Birth or Delivery Injuries
If negligence caused a newborn’s birth injuries, you may be entitled to seek compensation for malpractice.
Any procedure may come with associated risks. According to MedlinePlus, childbirth can involve several forms of complications, including:
- Shoulder dystocia, or when a baby’s shoulder becomes stuck during labor
- Perineal tears, or the tearing of the vagina
- Perinatal asphyxia, or when a baby receives insufficient oxygen
- And more
If a nurse neglected a duty to observe and monitor your delivery and you or your baby suffered these or other injuries as a result, you may be able to file a suit for medical malpractice.
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Have an attorney review your case and discuss your options for filing a malpractice lawsuit. Keep in mind that every state has its own regulations regarding the statute of limitations for filing birth injury cases, so it is best to speak with a lawyer familiar with the laws in your state.
Get help today. Contact Birth Injury Lawyers Group and schedule your free consultation at (800) 222-9529.