What is nursing malpractice?
Medical malpractice committed by a nurse is the same as any other case of malpractice, where there is an omission of care or injury to the patient. To qualify as a medical malpractice case, there should be evidence of failure to adhere to a standard clinical practice that resulted in harm to you or your loved one. Another competent nurse could have averted this harm under similar circumstances.
Nurses perform a vital role in patient care, monitoring, and recovery. Even a trivial mistake like miscommunication with a physician or missing out on information in medical reports can become a reason for your suffering.
Some examples of nursing negligence include:
- Inadequate patient assessment
- Inappropriate nursing intervention or care
- Delivering an incorrect or wrong dose of medication
- Inaccurate order interpretation
- Inadequate infection control
- Improper use of equipment
Nursing Malpractice Statistics
According to the National Practitioner Data Bank, nurses are independently responsible for malpractice claims (77%). About 7,000 (6%) of all malpractice payments after a judgment or settlement were made in the past 10 years (2010-2020).
An average of 200M dollars was paid for these malpractice payments each year. This included registered, practical, paraprofessional, and advanced nurse practitioners. For the patient outcomes from these claims, about one-third of them resulted in deaths, one-fourth as significant/major permanent injury, and one-eighth in minor/insignificant temporary injury.
Reported cases of negligence occurred in:
- Inpatient and outpatient care in hospitals (60%).
- Nursing home and rehabilitation facilities (18%)
- Advanced practice nurses (nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and nurse anesthetists) (9%).
- Psychiatric facilities (8%)
- Nurses working under independent practice settings of physicians (2%)
- Home health agencies (2%)
Among the allegations in nursing negligence, the three main categories that may lead to a malpractice lawsuit are problems relating to:
- Failure to diagnose or delayed diagnosis (41%)
- Delay in treatment (31%)
- Medication errors or wrong orders (13%).
Others arise from:
- Surgery, obstetrics related, improper monitoring, and environmental safety (15%).