Every day in hospitals throughout the U.S., nurses are on the front lines of healthcare and in the trenches caring for patients. From ensuring patients are comfortable and take their medications to monitoring patients' vital signs and caring for their wounds to prevent infection, on a single shift, nurses are often required to attend to and monitor the needs of several patients.
In cases where a nurse doesn't feel well, is having a bad day or errs in judgment; a medical mistake may occur and result in a patient suffering harm, injury or even death. The findings of a recent report by the Nurses Service Organization reveal that more U.S. nurses are being targeted in medical malpractice lawsuits.
According to the report, from 2010 up to 2015, $90 million was paid out in medical malpractice claims against registered, licensed vocational and licensed practical nurses. As of 2015, the "average claims cost" for a medical malpractice claim involving a nurse was nearly $165,000. Among those nurses seemingly most vulnerable to malpractice lawsuits are those with at least 16 years of experienced as well as those who received their training at non-U.S. educational institutions.
If you or a loved one falls ill or undergoes a medical procedure that requires hospitalization, one or more nurses will be responsible for closely monitoring your condition, administering drugs and ensuring that you are comfortable. Patients and their family members trust and rely upon nurses to provide optimum care. Unfortunately, there are times when a nurse may make mistakes with regard to identifying possible problems and assessing a patient’s needs. In cases where an individual or family member believes that a nurse is responsible for causing an injury or death, it’s wise to consult with an attorney who handles medical malpractice claims.
Source: FierceHealthcare, “Malpractice claims against nurses on the rise,” Zack Budryk, Jan. 26, 2016