Michigan Nursing Malpractice Lawyer
It’s an unfortunate reality that medical malpractice, nursing malpractice, and hospital negligence happen every single day. According to the Medical Malpractice Center, between 15,000 and 19,000 medical malpractice suits are filed every year. That’s an alarming number of medical mistakes. No matter the circumstances of your case, you deserve compensation for the damages that nursing malpractice has caused you.
At Lipton Law, our Michigan medical malpractice attorneys strive for excellence in our handling of cases. If you suffered an injury or illness due to nursing malpractice, contact our law firm to file a malpractice suit. Call today at 248-557-1688 for a free consultation. We have extensive experience filing claims against healthcare professionals under Michigan medical malpractice law.
Nursing, Negligence, and Malpractice Cases
Nursing negligence occurs when a nurse fails to uphold the expected standards of care that they owe to their patient, resulting in harm to that patient. Medical professionals are held to high standards because of the impact they can have on people’s lives. When someone goes to the hospital or to a doctor’s office, they expect to be taken care of. If the exact opposite happens, this can create a very stressful situation. It’s important to speak with a medical malpractice attorney as soon as you suspect that a doctor or nurse failed to uphold the standard of care.
What Is Malpractice in Nursing?
Nursing malpractice is similar to a regular medical malpractice claim. However, the specific ways in which a nurse might engage in malpractice differ from doctors. This is because the duties of nurses and doctors vary greatly. Even though they both aim to treat and care for patients, the specific tasks they perform are very different. Below, we outline the nuances of nursing negligence and malpractice.
Malpractice vs Negligence in Nursing
Exactly what is the difference between malpractice and negligence? While they may seem the same or similar, there is a key difference between them. Negligence occurs when someone makes a mistake that causes unintended harm to a patient. Malpractice occurs when someone knowingly fails to uphold the standard of care, leading to patient harm. It is not necessary to show malicious intent to prove malpractice.
Negligence in Nursing Examples
There are many small ways in which a nurse fails to uphold the expected standard of care. Below, we list some common examples of nursing negligence.
- Failure to properly monitor a patient’s condition or changes in their vital signs
- Failing to respond to patients in a timely manner when called
- Routine procedure errors
- Medication errors, such as giving the wrong medication or the wrong dose, or an allergic reaction to the medication
- Failing to call the attending physician when necessary
- Failing to update a patient’s chart with correct patient information
- Writing the wrong abbreviations on a patient’s chart
- Failing to properly handle medical equipment or ensure that it works properly
Why Does Nursing Malpractice Occur?
When serious harm comes to a patient at the hands of a nurse or doctor, many people wonder how it could have happened. Why does nursing malpractice occur? Patient care and patient safety are the most important aspects of the healthcare system. So, why does malpractice still happen? We list some common reasons below.
- Bad recordkeeping: It is often the nurse’s duty to fill out paperwork and charts. However, this is a commonly cited reason for burnout. Failing to keep good records about patients can have severe consequences in the long run. Sometimes, poor recordkeeping is inevitable. This is due to the use of different computer systems not being connected to allow the transfer of patient information.
- Burnout or stress: As with many other fields, those in the medical field also experience stress and burnout. They may even experience them at higher rates than professionals in other fields. After all, a nurse must deal with a high level of stress, often on very little sleep.
- Gaps in knowledge: Even though nurses and doctors must understand a large amount of information in order to do their jobs, it’s impossible to know everything. However, it is a nurse’s responsibility to seek help when they are unsure of how to proceed with a patient’s injuries or illness.
When Does Nurse Malpractice Happen?
We have outlined some specific reasons for and sources of nurse negligence. But what about the broader categories that these specific elements fall into? Below, we list broader explanations for a potential malpractice claim below.
Doing or Saying Nothing When Something Should Be Done
Every nurse has a responsibility to care for their patients. If something happens and the nurse does nothing when they should have acted, they could be held accountable. Additionally, if a nurse notices something or should have noticed something wrong, they must report it. If they do not, they risk being held liable.
Improperly Administering Medicine
Many nurses are responsible for properly administering medications to patients. If they fail to do this in any way, they may be held liable for their actions. Examples of improper medication administration include giving the wrong dose, giving the wrong medication, forgetting to give medication, and administering medicine to the wrong body part.
Injuring Patients With Equipment
Nurses also use medical equipment on a regular basis while treating patients or aiding a doctor in a surgical procedure. If a nurse injures a patient with a piece of medical equipment, they may be held liable for damages. Examples include retained surgical instruments, burning a patient, or even dropping something heavy on them.
How Do I Determine Who Is Responsible for Nursing Malpractice?
Determining nurse malpractice often begins with determining what a competent nurse would do in a similar situation under similar circumstances. What is the expected or established standard of care for a particular situation? Did the defendant adhere to this standard or deviate from it? Many nursing malpractice cases involve another party carrying liability.
The Attending Doctor
Doctors can be held liable for the actions of nurses, even if they are not directly in charge of those nurses. To prove this, your attorney will need to show that the doctor was in charge of the nurse’s actions at the time of the incident, as well as present for it.
Even the hospital can be held liable for malpractice. If the nurse involved is the hospital’s employee and they were doing their job when the incident occurred, the hospital could be liable for those actions. This liability is furthered when there is no doctor present who is in charge.
How to Prove Nursing Negligence
Proving nursing negligence is similar to proving medical malpractice against a hospital or doctor. Your attorney will use expert testimony, witness statements, and other types of evidence to support your case. The following four elements are crucial to proving negligence.
The nurse had a standard duty of care to their patient. This standard is shown by referencing what another nurse would have done with the same knowledge and training in the same situation.
They breached that duty of care and deviated from the expected standard of care.
This breach directly caused injury or illness to the patient.
The patient suffered actual damages as a result of the injury or illness.
Contact a Michigan Nursing Negligence Attorney Today
If you have suffered due to nursing negligence, you deserve compensation for your losses. At Lipton Law, our first priority is always what is best for the client or their family members. When you suffer a serious personal injury, we’re here to right those wrongs. To establish an attorney-client relationship with us, please contact our Southfield personal injury office today. Call us at 248-557-1688 to schedule your free consultation.