Medical professionals have a duty to patients to provide them with high-quality medical care. Victims of medical malpractice may be awarded compensation for their suffering if a healthcare worker is found to be negligent in that care. Many California nurses are aware of the dangers of medical misconduct in their line of work. Medication errors, increased patient falls and pressure sore injuries can lead to malpractice claims.
Although the number of nursing medical malpractice claims is growing, nurses only account for less than 20% of the claims filed while they make up over 50% of the healthcare workforce. Studies show that nurses have a closer, more familiar relationship with patients, which could account for lower malpractice claims against them.
Common causes of nursing malpractice claims
The nursing staff bears a great responsibility for patient care. Increasing demands for nurses mean increased opportunities for errors. Not every mistake or misstep by a nurse results in malpractice, however. Medical malpractice claims occur when a patient is harmed, and the courts validate their claims. Here are a few instances of typical actions resulting in malpractice claims against nurses:
- A patient gets injured falling from their hospital bed or chair.
- A patient falls trying to use the bathroom unassisted.
- The nurse has not adequately monitored the patient.
- Insufficient nursing staff has resulted in compromised care.
- A nurse makes poor decisions because of exhaustion, stress or fatigue.
Patients with comorbidities or missing medical information can be the victims of malpractice during which nursing errors can cause patient harm or death. These common nursing errors may result in patients or their families seeking damages through medical malpractice claims.
Nurses must be responsible, competent, knowledgeable and ethical while caring for patients. Failure to act accordingly can result in claims against the nurse, staff and the care facility.