When you’re admitted to the hospital for whatever reason, you rely on a massive staff of trained administrators, technicians, doctors, and nurses to help you recover. When people think about things going wrong, however, they tend to think primarily of the treating doctor who performs procedures or administers treatment.
In reality, nurses play an equally important role in many patients’ recovery. They spend a much greater amount of time with patients and are responsible for reporting unexpected changes in their health to the treating doctor. Though nursing malpractice is rare, it is just as important to be aware of as other forms of medical malpractice.
Signs of Nursing Malpractice
The key term in medical malpractice lawsuits is negligence. Without a clear example of negligent behavior, there’s no malpractice. If you feel as if your nurse is rude to you during your course of treatment, that’s probably not grounds for filing for medical malpractice. Not every unfortunate event or mistake can be considered medical malpractice.
Because the individual situations are so unpredictable, it’s nearly impossible to say when exactly nursing malpractice has occurred. However, it’s easier to identify the most common types of lawsuits filed against hospitals and attending doctors due to nurse negligence.
Failing to respond when needed
Because nurses are more or less constantly watching patients, they are responsible for calling for help or taking action when a patient needs immediate attention. This standard of care can apply to both patients’ expressed needs and the nurse’s medical training; if he or she should have noticed something requiring action, he or she can be held liable for not noticing.
Causing patient harm with medical equipment
Nurses handle patients in and out of procedures, and they should be aware of each patient’s limitations and immediate circumstances. Nurses can cause harm by leaving medical instruments inside patients after surgery, using excessive force in routine procedures, or dropping heavy equipment onto them.
Administering doctors’ orders improperly
In more simple procedures, doctors will prescribe a certain medication or treatment plan that the nurse then carries out. If a nurse gives a patient the wrong medication, the wrong dosage, or fails to follow orders at all, he or she may be negligent.
If you have worked with an Indiana medical malpractice attorney to begin a nursing malpractice lawsuit, the next step is to gather evidence and provide an expert witness to corroborate your claim.
Just like in other medical malpractice lawsuits, an expert witness must testify that the defendant violated his or her profession’s medical standard of care. This witness must be active in the same specific field as the defendant in order to give a valid testimony.
In Indiana, this testimony occurs before a medical malpractice review panel that determines whether the case is valid or not. Only after a victim and his or her attorney receive an opinion from the review panel can they proceed with the lawsuit.
Who’s Responsible for Nursing Malpractice?
Most nurses in a hospital are employed by that hospital. In those cases, the hospital would be liable in any case involving nursing medical malpractice. However, the treating (or attending) doctor can be held liable in cases where the doctor was present and in control to prevent the nurse’s harmfully negligent actions.
An Indiana medical malpractice attorney can help you determine who should be held responsible for your injury.
Help from an Indiana Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you’ve been injured or suffered unnecessarily due to a nurse’s medical negligence, you may be able to receive financial compensation for your bills and trauma. Hensley Legal Group sides with victims by taking care of the complicated paperwork and difficult conversations for them. Our medical malpractice attorneys are well-versed in Indiana’s malpractice laws and won’t be paid unless you are.
Call us today or contact us online to start a conversation with us about your case.