Nursing negligence is a type of medical malpractice whereby a nurse, who is fully capable of providing quality nursing services, does not care for you the way a reasonable nurse would. The result of this is unnecessary suffering on your behalf.
Types of Nursing Negligence
There are five major types of nursing negligences that can occur:
- When a nurse does not inform your doctor when there is a change in your condition or status
- When a nurse fails to advocate for your care and compromises your safety
- When a nurse directly causes your injury, such as making an error when performing a routine procedure
- When a nurse incorrectly administers your medication
- When a nurse fails to accurately record and document your condition
Causes of Nursing Negligence
Medical malpractice lawsuits are steadily on the rise and, in some instances, these may arise from cases of nursing negligence which is generally caused by:
- Cost-containment efforts in hospitals and Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs): These force nurses to delegate tasks which some facilities consider as negligent behavior, as these tasks are often delegated to unlicensed assistive personnel
- Nursing shortages and hospital downsizing: This creates larger workloads for nurses which increases the likelihood of them making errors
- Advances in technology: Nurses must continuously ensure that they have the necessary knowledge required to utilize a variety of different technologies. They must remember the capabilities, safety features, and limitations of each of these technologies which is difficult given the fast rate of technological innovation
- Increased responsibility and autonomy: Many hospital nurses are now required to independently utilize advanced nursing skills which bring a greater risk of error and liability due to inexperience
The Tyler Ireland Case
In 2011, 19-year-old Tyler Ireland was hospitalized for a collapsed lung. He underwent pleurodesis surgery and was placed on a patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) pump afterward, which released a prescribed dose of morphine to relieve his pain. He spent one night in the hospital’s high dependency unit for recovery and was moved to a general ward the next day.
After one night in the general ward, Tyler was found early the next morning, unresponsive and having suffered two cardiac arrests. A thorough investigation revealed the cause to be due to nursing negligence, as Tyler’s night-duty nurse failed to:
- Care for him correctly, as she was not adequately trained to care for a patient using PCA
- Check on him throughout the night
- Identify the signs of opioid-induced respiratory depression and/or obstructive sleep apnea when Tyler fell asleep and was noted to be snoring “so loudly that the other patient in his room complained of the noise”
- Continuously monitor him with pulse oximetry and capnography equipment
As with all medical malpractice lawsuits, you need to prove that nursing negligence occurred and that it resulted in harm towards you or your family member. It is best to consult a medical malpractice lawyer, as this harm can be varied and is classified differently in each state. Different states are governed by different laws, and you will need an NYC medical malpractice attorney familiar with the state’s laws to help you decide whether the nurse’s conduct warrants a lawsuit or not.
If you believe that you or a family member may have been a victim of nursing negligence, please contact the medical malpractice lawyers of Rosenburg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff LLP in NYC today and speak to one of our medical malpractice attorneys.
When you are ready to talk, we are ready to listen. Call 1-866-516-5887 for a free, confidential consultation.