Nurse Malpractice Lawyer
Nurse Error Malpractice Lawyers
While doctor's and specialists' function is to order tests, diagnose illnesses, and decide upon appropriate treatment measures, patients would never receive the care they need without a nurse's help.
Whether through the administration of medicines, monitoring of vital signs, or assisting patients with their general healthcare requirements, nurses serve the needs of patients and doctors alike by making sure that doctors are aware of complications and patients are recovering as they should.
The Chicago personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC recognize and appreciate the value of nurses' services. However, our nursing malpractice lawyers are also aware of the harm that results from nursing errors and inattentive care.
Our medical malpractice lawyers have the experience to help you recover financial compensation. All sensitive or confidential information you share with our malpractice lawyers remains private through an attorney-client relationship. Call our law firm today to schedule a free consultation.
Nurses Come in Many Forms and Have Unique Responsibilities
Just as there are many specialties for doctors to pursue, there are numerous types of nurses. Each serves a specific function and has received the training to perform responsibilities in their area of expertise.
Many people assume that all nurses are the same and expect one nurse to understand and perform the duties of a nurse with a different specialty. While many titles are given to nurses in varying fields, the most common nurses include the following.
- Certified Nurse Assistant — these nurses are qualified to perform functions under the supervision of a certified nurse or nurse practitioner. They are not certified nurses and should not be expected to provide any form of attention they have not received during training.
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist — as the title implies, this nurse assists anesthesiologists by preparing patients before administering anesthesia. In addition, their duties can include inserting IV catheters and monitoring patients.
- Registered Nurse — it is the responsibility of registered nurses to implement treatment plans under the order of doctors, who may have prescribed medications or ordered tests. A registered nurse may be responsible for performing an initial exam of the patient, coordinating tasks such as collecting blood or urine samples, administering medications, dressing or redressing wounds, communicating medical instructions to patients, and delegating tasks to assistants. While registered nurses may act decisively in an emergency, they are not trained, equipped, or permitted to diagnose medical conditions or prescribe medicines or treatment options.
- Nurse Practitioner — the most versatilely trained nurse is the nurse practitioner, who is trained and licensed to diagnose and treat many medical conditions. Nurse specialists overloaded with patients focus on their duties and perform the general duties of both a doctor and a nurse. Nurse practitioners do not work solely in the emergency provision and may work cooperatively with a doctor in private practice or on their own.
- Home Health Nurse — there are different types of home health nurses, but they all have in common that they provide care to patients in the comfort of their own homes. They may be tasked with caring for patients requiring assisted living, providing treatment to the terminally ill, or helping patients with limited mobility.
Since the duties of medical professionals are dependent on their setting, they must receive additional training, including on medical equipment, whenever they assume a new position, as the needs of their patients may be different. In addition, they may need to learn how to continue working safely in the new environment to avoid nursing malpractice.
A Wide Range of Duties and Heavy Workload May Contribute to Nursing Malpractice
In addition to following treatment orders provided by a doctor, nurses must observe patients and communicate with doctors about changing health conditions and concerns that need to be addressed to keep medical malpractice at bay.
Due to the general shortage of nurses in the healthcare field and the tendency for many care facilities to be understaffed to save money, most nurses are saddled with heavy workloads and unrealistic expectations, and failure to use medical equipment optimally, resulting in nursing malpractice.
Most nursing malpractice cases occur because the nurse is in a hurry to get to another patient or is pulled away from a patient to serve another, only to forget about the first patient and never return to adjust the medical equipment.
The responsibilities of a nurse can include the following.
- Drawing blood and collecting urine or stool samples. The mishandling of these fluids can have a devastating impact on a patient. In addition, contaminated tests can result in incorrect diagnoses and mislabeled tests to be returned to the wrong patient.
- Inserting an IV to provide fluids, medications, or anesthesia. Caregivers must take proper precautions when inserting an IV to protect themselves and the patient from bloodborne pathogens and infection. In addition, all medical equipment must be sterile and disposed of properly after removing the IV.
- Administering medications as prescribed
- Treating surgical wounds, changing dressings, and monitoring a patient for signs of complications following an injury or surgery. Patients are at an increased risk of developing infections after invasive procedures, and caregivers are likely to spot the signs of infection before the doctor will.
- Assessing the immediate needs of patients in triage. A triage nurse will evaluate patients who arrive in a hospital or emergency room to determine how serious the patient's condition or injury is to send those who need immediate care to the doctor while managing the needs of others who may be able to wait longer for care.
- Collecting information about the patient that may be instrumental in diagnosis or follow-up care. For example, nurses should observe patients and gather the information that doctors do not as a part of their nursing responsibilities and functions. Likewise, a caregiver must record vital signs, collect patient information, and report to a doctor if she believes there is a concern beyond their caregiving ability.
- Taking care of a patient's personal needs. Home health nurses or caregivers working with patients in assisted living centers need to be aware of their individual needs to receive the care they require. For example, nursing attendants may assist patients in eating, helping them to the bathroom or into bed, and provide preventative care to reduce the risk of bedsores.
Medication errors resulting in medical malpractice are a significant problem in the United States. Studies have returned alarming results concerning the number of patients receiving the wrong medications, whether at home, in a hospital, or while residing in an assisted living community.
Medication errors are common, from doctors prescribing the wrong medications or dosages to pharmacists filling prescriptions incorrectly to nurses administering the medicines improperly.
With this in mind, nurses need to understand doctors' instructions, ask questions when the medication doesn't match the prescription, and make sure that the chart compares the patient to avert medical malpractice. Still, when a nurse is in a hurry, they may skip the doctor's orders.
Communicating doctors' orders to patients and providing information about their condition to understand the steps they need to take during recovery avoids nursing malpractice.
In addition, doctors spend far less time with their patients than nurses do and may only briefly apprise them of their conditions and treatment options, leading to medical malpractice. A nurse will then provide further education and answer the patient's questions and concerns.
Our Chicago nursing malpractice lawyers have noticed that some incidents involving nurse's negligence occurred despite the best of intentions. Others were due to the inability of the nurse to direct their attention to the needs of an overwhelming number of patients leading to nursing malpractice.
Nursing Errors Considered as Medical Malpractice
Some errors or poor decisions nurses may make that can be defined as medical negligence may include the following.
- Performing medical procedures on a patient without proper knowledge, training, or authorization. Except for nurse practitioners, nurses are not allowed to diagnose medical conditions or provide medications without prescriptions.
- Mismanaging collection of information or test samples. A nurse may fail at this level, making them and their employer liable.
- Administering incorrect doses of medication or providing drugs to the wrong patient.
- Delaying in communicating concerns with a doctor regarding the status of a patient in distress.
- Failing to notice signs of distress, allowing the patient's condition to worsen without the doctor being notified
- When the nurse fails, either intentionally or unintentionally, by going against the orders provided by the patient's doctor
- Failing to delegate responsibilities to assistants or to supervise assistants when they provide care properly
- Failing to properly evaluate the severe nature of a patient's concerns in triage, allowing the patient to suffer additional harm due to delay in referring the patient to a doctor
- Not taking proper precautions when inserting or removing IVs, handling biohazards, and disposing of medical waste.
- Allowing a patient to suffer harm due to lack of supervision in the absence of a doctor
- Failing to undergo training specific to the type of work being performed and the work environment
Sample Nursing Malpractice Awards
$335,000 Settlement; Nursing Malpractice; McHenry County, Illinois
This case was a combination of facility and nursing malpractice. The victim was an older woman. She was seventy-four. Before her admittance to the long-term care facility, staff was alerted to her risk for falls.
Reports from her doctors and other professionals warned about this danger. It is unclear at what level of concern this was communicated to the nurses and other on-call staff. However, what was clear is that they were not attentive to this concern.
The nurses repeatedly ignored her and did not monitor her. Consequently, she fell on multiple occasions and suffered a personal injury which amounted to nursing malpractice.
The accidents came with significant personal injury, including broken bones in her shoulder and hip and other damages. Tragically, the last fall led to her death. Lawyers for the woman's estate sued the nursing professionals and the facility itself for medical malpractice.
They argued that their negligent supervision permitted the falls to happen, and those incidents caused her death. In their view, the defendants should have heeded the warnings regarding this concern, employed and trained staff more proficiently, and supervised her sufficiently so that medical malpractice would not happen.
They claimed these nurse failures constituted the nurse's negligence enough to hold the defendants responsible for her wrongful death. In a private settlement, the plaintiffs received $335,000.
$650,000 Settlement; Nursing Malpractice; Cook County, Illinois
Several nurses and other professionals contributed to this medical malpractice incident in a hospital near Chicago, Illinois. The patient involved was a female in her late sixties. She stayed in a hospital after experiencing an aneurysm.
While there, nurses did not rotate or move her at all for several days. She developed bedsores as a result. Some of them even got to Stage III. Then, the staff moved her to a nursing home for closer attention and more advanced care.
However, the care she received at the new facility was more of the same for her, unfortunately. Again, nurses did not prevent her sores from advancing, and some sores progressed so far that medical protocols would be ineffective.
Doctors attempted debridement and other chemical treatments, but that only treated some of the bedsores. Others progressed beyond the point of repair.
Unfortunately, she passed away not long after these incidents. Lawyers for the woman sued the parties involved for medical malpractice. A proactive nurse may have mitigated the situation, but unfortunately, that was not to be.
They claimed the defendants' were liable for wrongful death and the nurse's negligence. In a private agreement, all sides settled for a reported $650,000. The agreement was to cover the woman's pain and expenses and her loved ones' grief.
$3,000,000 Settlement; Nursing Malpractice; Cook County
This dispute involved a controversy between a potentially defective medical device and potentially negligent nursing. The 70-year-old male victim was admitted to a hospital for necrotizing pancreatitis.
His condition eventually caused respiratory failure, leading to a tracheostomy tube to breathe and survive. Then, one day, he stopped breathing and suffered a brain injury. He passed away just two days later.
His wife and daughter survived him and believed that the tube became dislodged while a nurse was rotating his body. However, when they pressed the hospital on the matter, the facility said that the tube was defective and not their fault.
The company that manufactured the tubes said that they became dislodged due to the nurse's negligence. In the end, they could not decisively figure out what happened. Yet, they knew that the man died because of negligence between those two parties, the hospital and the company. Therefore, they chose to settle.
The hospital paid $1.8 million, and the company paid $1.2 million. The family collectively received $3 million for the untimely passing of their loved one.
A Medical Malpractice Attorney Can Help You Get Relief
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC is committed to serving the needs of any person who has suffered an injury or lost a loved one due to medical malpractice and the nurse's negligence.
Do you believe that your injuries resulted from nursing malpractice? If so, you might be entitled to recover compensation for the value of your medical care, future medical needs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Our law firm has helped thousands of clients just like you secure the damages they needed to move forward with their lives and can help you do the same.
Contact us at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) to use the contact form today to schedule a free consultation. Please speak with our award-winning Chicago medical malpractice attorneys to tell us what happened. We can gather all of the information needed to investigate your claim and determine the best course of action.
Your malpractice attorney will let you know what legal options you have and answer all your questions to understand what you can expect from start to finish. We accept all cases on a contingency fee agreement, meaning that no upfront fees are paid until the legal matter is resolved in your favor.
Resources for Nurse Malpractice Lawyer:
All sensitive or confidential information you share with our medical malpractice attorney remains private through an attorney-client relationship. Call us to schedule a free consultation with our medical malpractice attorneys.