Medical malpractice can have a disastrous effect on patients and their loved ones. Patients and their families often look to hold the doctor or hospital liable for acts of negligence or malpractice that result in physical injury, prolonged treatment and rehabilitation, and in some tragic cases, death. Other damages might include medical bills, loss of income and benefits, and other economic loss.
But when a hospital nurse’s error causes the injury – not a doctor – who pays? As reported in a prior post, there has been a significant increase in the number of malpractice claims brought directly against nurses.
As licensed health care professionals, nurses owe patients a duty of care that is independent of the duties owed by physicians and other health care providers. In a hospital setting, nurses frequently have direct interaction with patients, with responsibilities that generally include:
- Monitoring and observing patients
- Reporting patient information to treating and attending doctors
- Feeding patients
- Administering medication
- Changing bandages and dressing
- Monitoring medical equipment
- Responding to calls for assistance
- Recording vital information
Nurses who work in the emergency department, operating room, or specialized areas of the hospital may have additional responsibilities. But regardless of their assignments and training, when nurses breach the appropriate standard of care resulting in harm to the patient, the law deems that medical malpractice.
In most situations, nurses are employed by the hospital and covered under the hospital’s liability insurance, but they can also carry individual insurance coverage – coverage that can be crucial when recovering substantial damages for catastrophic injuries or wrongful death.
Medical malpractice lawsuits can be complex, and the involvement of multiple defendants – doctors, nurses, medical technicians, pharmacists, and others – can make them even more complicated. That’s why you need an experienced personal injury attorney to thoroughly investigate the players, the negligent acts, the damages, and available insurance.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a nurse’s error or any form of professional negligence, the attorneys in Sommers Schwartz’s Medical Malpractice Litigation Group can help. Please contact us today – the law gives you only a limited amount of time to pursue your rights!