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Medical Malpractice

Nursing Malpractice: More Common Than You Might Think

January 17, 2024

When you mention medical malpractice, people typically think of malpractice committed by a doctor or maybe a hospital. The reality is, however, that nurses can also commit medical malpractice. While nurses often act at the direction and under the guidance of a doctor, they have a similar obligation to provide treatment that meets the applicable standard of care. When they fail to meet that standard, they commit medical malpractice. If you have suffered harm after receiving medical treatment from a nurse, a nursing malpractice lawyer may be able to help you recover compensation. 

Examples of Nursing Malpractice

Rather than talk about nursing malpractice in general terms, reviewing some common examples of nursing malpractice may be more helpful. 

Failure to Monitor

One of a nurse’s primary responsibilities is to monitor their patient’s vital signs and medical conditions. Their vital signs are an important indicator of whether they are in distress, how they are responding to treatment, or what further care they may need. Any changes in their vital signs then need to be recorded in their medical records so that the doctors and other medical staff can recommend the appropriate treatment. Failure to monitor and track their vital signs can cause serious harm to the patient and even lead to a preventable death

In addition to monitoring their vitals, nurses are also responsible for ensuring that patients are getting the care they need. Here are some examples of negligent nursing care that could be considered medical malpractice: 

  • Bedsores or pressure ulcers
  • Infections due to poor post-operative care 
  • Falls due to lack of supervision
  • Urinary tract infections

If you or someone you love received seemingly poor nursing care, trust your instincts and reach out to an experienced nursing malpractice lawyer. 

Medication Errors

Nurses are also often responsible for administering medications to patients. Even minor errors in administering medication to patients can cause serious harm. Common medication errors include the following: 

  • Administering the wrong medication
  • Administering the wrong dose
  • Failing to explain potential side effects or how the medication should be taken

A medication error can result in a severe and unexpected reaction, a sudden drop in blood pressure, or other serious issues that can result in a loss of consciousness and even death. Nurses are responsible for ensuring that all medications are properly and safely administered to patients at all times. 

Documentation Errors 

Nurses are also responsible for ensuring that patients’ records are kept up to date. They are required to record precise details concerning the patient’s medications, condition, vital signs, and symptoms. Doctors and other medical staff rely upon patient records when making their diagnoses or recommending treatment. Documentation errors mean that these records will be inaccurate and lead to subsequent errors, many of which can result in immediate harm or misdiagnosis

Mistakes in Performing Routine Procedures

Nurses are often tasked with handling various routine procedures such as starting IVs, inserting catheters, or drawing blood. While even the best nurses can find these tasks challenging at times, some nurses are simply inattentive or careless when performing these tasks. Mistakes in performing routine procedures can cause numerous problems such as infections and lacerations. An experienced nursing malpractice lawyer can assess whether you have a claim if you were harmed by a nurse in the performance of a procedure. 

Identifying Nursing Malpractice is Difficult

Nurses rarely work alone. They are often part of a team of medical professionals, all of whom rely on each other for accurate information and instruction. As a result, it isn’t always clear who should be held liable when medical malpractice occurs. 

Nursing mistakes can be the result of the nurse’s carelessness or inattentiveness. However, many nursing errors are caused by other factors such as the following: 

  • Understaffing
  • Inadequate training and support
  • Poor communication
  • Vague and unclear instructions

In many cases, the mistake made by the nurse may actually be the result of negligence on the part of the hospital or facility. In other cases, the doctor may have failed to give necessary information or instruction. All of the parties involved in the malpractice may share liability for the harm that was caused. An experienced nursing malpractice lawyer will be able to identify who should be held accountable. 

Contact Ragain & Clark if You Have Experienced Nursing Malpractice

If you have been harmed as a result of nursing malpractice, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Ragain & Clark helps malpractice victims in both Wyoming and Montana get the compensation they need to make a full recovery. Contact us today at 307-388-6400 (Worland) or 406-651-8888 (Billings) to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.


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