Nursing Malpractice Essay
One of the main threats that health care practitioners, including nurses, face in the modern Healthcare delivery systems is malpractice litigation. In the present day, nurses have to be concerned about malpractice litigation because, presently, nurses can be held accountable for their own negligence. Nurses need to gain awareness of different legal and ethical requirements and consistently incorporate them into their everyday practice to assure patients of the best outcomes and safeguard the health care practitioners. In this paper, the central problems that led to malpractice suits in Croke (2006) will be explored while also exploring the nurse’s role and the mistakes they were involved in that led to the malpractice suits.
In the case involving Lunsford versus the board of nursing examiners in Texas, the primary problem that led to the malpractice lawsuits included breach of duty. Nurse Lunsford breached her duty by deciding not to take any vital signs on a patient who she suspected had cardiac heart issues. The nurse did not assess the medical status of Mr. Floyd, her patient, and did not inform the physician of the patient’s cardiac condition, which was a potentially life-threatening medical condition. The nurse also failed to institute any important nursing actions that could play a significant role in saving the patient’s life, such as taking the patient’s vital signs and placing the patient on an electrocardiogram that could have helped to prevent further complications in the patient and death. By actively choosing not to attend to the patient-nurse, Lunsford therefore actively breached her duty as a nurse because the role of a nurse is mainly to preserve life (Croke, 2006).
The next issue that made the nurse Lunsford in the case study to be liable for malpractice was the issue of foreseeability. As a result of her medical training and experiences, the nurse would therefore have been able to foresee the potential complications related to Mr. Floyd because the nurse suspected cardiac involvement in the patient’s case and even questioned the friend who had accompanied the patient on her knowledge of CPR it is clearly evident that the nurse could foresee potential complications related to the patient. By ignoring the patient’s potential complications and referring the patient to another healthcare facility, the nurse was therefore liable for malpractice (Croke, 2006).
In the case study, it is evident that the nurse played a significant role in the subsequent death of Mr. Floyd. Therefore by deciding not to assess the patient’s vitals and not communicate to the physician about the life-threatening condition of the patient and even deciding to refer the patient to a nearby healthcare facility, the nurse contributed to the death of a patient, which could have been prevented. Nurse Lunsford breached her duty by failing to assess the patient’s condition, not communicating effectively with a physician, and implementing nursing interventions that could have helped stabilize the patient’s condition despite seeing the patient and determining that he was in a critical state. Nurses can therefore be liable for malpractice suits for only acts of the commission but also acts of omission (Mello et al., 2020).
In summary, when considering the causes of malpractice suits for nurses, all elements of care should be evaluated for possible negligence. Nurses have to actively gain awareness of different legal and ethical requirements and consistently incorporate them into their everyday practice to assure patients of the best outcomes and safeguard themselves from malpractice suits.
Croke, E. (2006). Nursing malpractice: determining liability elements for negligent acts. Journal
of Legal Nurse Consulting, 17(3), 3.
Mello, M. M., Frakes, M. D., Blumenkranz, E., & Studdert, D. M. (2020). Malpractice Liability
and Health Care Quality. JAMA, 323(4), 352. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2019.21411