In the fall of 2015, a New Jersey nurse made headlines after it was discovered that she had used only two syringes to administer the flu vaccine to 67 people. Although to date, no one has contracted any illness as a result of her actions, the people who received the vaccine were advised to get tested for transmittable diseases, including HIV.
Like doctors, nurses are bound by a duty to provide a certain standard of care for their patients. But what happens when a nurse fails in that duty and causes serious injury or even death?
Every year there are as many as 400,000 deaths from preventable medical errors, according to the Journal of Patient Safety. As the medical establishment works to identify and correct those errors, it is important to recognize some of the more common instances where nursing mistakes lead to injury:
Failure to Monitor or Assess This can be especially dangerous for patients who are bed bound and require scheduled check-ins. An example of this may be a nurse who does not check and/or properly attend to a patient’s bedsores. The bedsores then become infected and compromise the health of an already medically fragile patient.
Medication errors An incorrect or excessive dosage of a medication can exacerbate a patient’s suffering and lead to death. A well known example of this occurred in 2007 when actor Dennis Quaid’s twin infants were accidentally given 1,000 times the common dosage of a drug. The twins fortunately suffered no lasting complications. Nurses are also expected to know the correct procedures for administering shots.
Improper Use of Equipment Nurses often need to use a variety of tools and equipment in order to care for their patients. The improper use of the equipment or failing to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for use can injure the patient. Nurses can also be held liable if a patient is injured on a piece of equipment that was calibrated for a patient of a different height and weight.
Failure to Communicate Nurses must notify other health care providers in a timely manner about their patient’s condition or they may be held liable. Not only must nurses monitor their patients, they must also report changes such as a drop in blood pressure, irregular heart rate, or a negative response to medication so that their patient can receive timely and appropriate care.
Failure to Properly Document Maintaining accurate and detailed notes on a patient is crucial. Improperly documenting or omitting information can impact the level of care the patient receives as it provides a misleading timeline of their symptoms, medications and reactions. This puts the patient at risk because it prevents other health care workers from having all the necessary information in order to adequately treat them.
New Jersey Medical Malpractice Lawyers At Shebell & Shebell Get Compensation For Victims Injured by Negligent Nurses
An injury or illness because of a medical mistake can be devastating for patients who are the most vulnerable—the elderly, infants, and those with chronic medical conditions. However, injures that result form negligent nursing negligence can happen to anyone. If you or someone you know was injured as a result of nursing malpractice, the experienced New Jersey medical malpractice lawyers at Shebell & Shebell can help you get the compensation you deserve. We represent clients throughout New Jersey, including Monmouth County, Middlesex County, and Ocean County, including Howell, Freehold, Middletown, Shrewsbury, Wall, Keansburg, Asbury Park, Long Branch, Union Beach and Neptune. For a free consultation, call us at 866-957-5237 or contact us online today.