If a nurse, nurse practitioner or other medical health professional acting in the capacity of a nurse does not carry out his or her medical duties properly or accurately and it results in a patient being harmed, this is called nursing malpractice. Malpractice involving nurses is similar to dental and legal malpractice, in that the nurse does not perform his or her job in a way that a normally competent nurse in the same area of specialty would, and the negligence harms someone.
There are a variety of instances that have the potential to harm a patient that may include the nurse distributing the wrong medication, giving the wrong patient medication, failing to call a doctor when a patient is seriously ill, and failing to diagnose when a patient is experiencing an adverse reaction to a drug or procedure.
Often, the major issue in nursing malpractice cases is who is liable for a nurse’s negligence, the doctor or the hospital. The responsible party is liable to pay compensation.
Common nursing malpractice situations may involve saying or doing nothing when they should have taken action, harming a patient with equipment and/or not giving medication in the proper manner. If they see something of concern, or should have seen it, and did not call the doctor, they may be liable for malpractice.
Medical equipment is very specialized, and a nurse could harm a patient by burning them, leaving a sponge inside a body cavity after surgery, or knocking something over on a patient. Giving a patient the wrong dose or a wrong medication or not following doctor’s orders may also result in negligence. Negligently following orders, which may involve improperly giving injections, is also nursing malpractice.