When most people think about medical malpractice, they think about doctors making mistakes or being negligent. However, doctors aren't the only healthcare professionals who can be held liable for negligence. Nurses can also be held liable. Sometimes, people are injured or made ill during hospital stays because of negligence. However, their cases don't go anywhere because the doctor wasn't directly involved in much of their care. In these cases, it can be helpful to look at the nurses who were on-duty, as they may have had a more direct role in treatment. If you've suffered because of negligence or mistreatment in a hospital, you may want to review your nurses' actions. Here are a few important questions to answer?
Did the nurse act as any competent nurse would in the same situation? This is usually the standard for determining whether a nurse is liable for malpractice. Nurses go through very standardized training, so there's usually a well-defined protocol for every situation. It's not difficult to determine whether a nurse acted outside of that protocol. Some of the most common ways in which a nurse can be liable are if he or she ignores a patient's warning signs or if he or she uses equipment improperly. Giving the wrong amount or wrong type of medication is also a common source of nursing malpractice.
Is the hospital also liable? Usually, if the nurse is liable, the hospital is also liable. Nurses are usually employees of the hospital, which means the hospital can be held liable for their mistakes. The exception to this can be if the nurse is associated with an independent doctor's office. Sometimes, a person may be admitted to a hospital, but they may still be treated by an outside physician. In those situations, the hospital usually has agreements with the doctor's office in place that protects the hospital from liability caused by the doctor or his or her staff.
Is the doctor liable? This is one of the biggest questions involved in nursing malpractice cases. If the doctor is liable, then it's unlikely that the nurse is also liable. The reason is because the nurse will likely be found to be acting on the orders of the doctor. The key issue is whether the doctor had any involvement in the incident that led to the injury. Did the doctor prescribe the wrong amount of medication? Did the doctor tell the nurse how to use the equipment? Did the nurse tell the doctor about warning signs and the doctor just ignored them? If the nurse was simply following orders, then the issue is likely with the doctor and not the nurse.
One of the biggest challenges in a malpractice case is determining who is at fault. This is especially true in hospitals where multiple people may have been involved in your care. A medical malpractice attorney (like those at Davidson Law Center Inc) can help you get access to medical records and determine which parties are liable for your injuries.