Elements of Nurse Malpractice

Nurses are often viewed as secondary to doctors, and considered to have fewer “critical” duties to perform when it comes to patients. The truth is the day to day jobs of nurses can be considered just as important as that of any other medical professional and their duties equally as crucial to the wellbeing of the patient. Of course, inevitably this level of care and importance also brings with it cases of nurse malpractice.

So what constitutes nurse malpractice? As with any other form of medical malpractice, there must be four elements present in order for there to be a legitimate case:

  • Standard of Care – just as doctors are expected to provide their patients with a high level of care in their treatment, nurses are also held to a certain standard of care. If nurse malpractice is to be proven successfully, it must be shown that the defendant did not act with the same or similar level of care that another nurse would if given the same situation.
  • Duty – pretty straightforward – nurses are expected to provide attention and care to the patients they are treating, and this must be proven as their “duty”.
  • Legal Causation – it must be proven by the plaintiff that had the proper standard of care been provided, and the duty been upheld, there would have been no injury caused. Keep in mind that this is often the most difficult element to successfully prove.
  • Damages – if nurse malpractice has occurred, it must also be proven that the plaintiff suffered subsequent financial, physical and emotional damages. If there are no damages, there is no case.

Have you suffered at the hands of a negligent nurse? Do you feel that your case meets all four elements listed above? Do you want to seek justice for your injuries and punish the guilty party for their actions? Contact an attorney who specializes in cases of nurse malpractice today and find out what your rights are and how to fight for them.

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4 Responses to Elements of Nurse Malpractice

  1. Candy says:

    just found out can seek justice for negligent nurse. My surgery was July 2005, and she meets all the standards above. Can I still persue this matter since I just found out I can punish the guilty nurse? I was told there wasn’t enough evidence to sue doctor, so i accepted the legal counsel, but now, I want to punish the nurse who left me with permanent injuries that I am still seeking medical treatment for to this day.

  2. Dave Austin says:

    So here’s a couple of thoughts for you.

    How much time you have depends on the state where the claim or lawsuit gets filed or which law applies. You have to find out what the statute of limitations is that will apply to your case. Sometimes, and I mean only sometimes, you can get an extended time period to file a claim under exceptions in your state’s law. One is a discovery rule, which basically means, that your time begins to run when you discover that you have a claim or should have discovered that you had a claim. I can’t give you any specific legal advice, you have to check with an attorney in the appropriate state, but that fact that you already investigated a claim several years back is not helpful.

    So go talk with a lawyer in your state specifically about your questions and this nurse malpractice case.

  3. Candy says:

    Dave, Thank you for your information. I guess I will have to just forget it. I just feel frustrated, because the hospital, staff, surgeons, multiple people did the much practiced “cover-up”. My medical records contain lies, falsifications, even omittance of procedures, etc. I am having to defend myself in disability due to these lies! I am past the point of anger due to the fact that I can’t get proper medical treatment because the surgeon was so well known, nobody will touch me, and the fact even though I kept my own journal and have multiple witnesses of my truths, the medical records don’t reflect it and one of the first questions asked to me is if there is a lawsuit. Even when I tell them “no”, once they hear what happened, i get ” I don’t feel comfortable treating you, return to original surgeon” However, even though the trust factor with the original surgeon is gone, I did try to make an appointment with the surgeon who saved my life ( had 2 craniotomies, original surgeon was out of town when nurse pushed fluid into my head and had a skull/sinus fracture, CSF leak, and a second brain surgery to save my life). I was told I could not see the surgeon who did second surgery because he wasn’t the primary surgeon. I pleaded to see him, even explained to His staff why I didn’t want to see the first surgeon, and they told me ” they understood but it was POLICY”. So, I have suffered 2 years going doctor to doctor, only to be told to return to original surgeon, and nobody will diagnosis me because of the fragility of this case! I am still seeking a surgeon (going out of state now), who will not be afraid to further treat me, or even possibly have to perform another brain surgery. IT is just so frustrating and I am finding it hard to accept this fact without saying something! This nurse is probably still treating patients terrribly, guess I will just have to rely on reporters, newspaper and tv shows, magazines, etc. to get my story out so it doesn’t happen again. I’m sorry for venting, I am just kinda at the end of my rope. Is it too late to press charges at least?

  4. Dave says:

    I don’t know if it is too late to press charges. I am sorry that this has been so difficult for you.

    But it really is important to understand that you need to go talk to a lawyer in your area to get these questions answered. Each state has different laws.

    Best of luck.

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