Nurses and Medical Malpractice in North Carolina
When people think of medical malpractice, they usually think of doctors and surgeons. However, the reality is that medical mistakes can be made by any licensed healthcare professional. This includes nurses, a group of people that are integral to the healthcare system. When most people need assistance from a doctor, they spend much more time with their nurses than they do with the actual doctor. Many people wonder whether or not nurses can be held liable for medical mistakes. The answer to that question just got a little more complicated in North Carolina.
Most Common Nursing Mistakes
Nurses play an important role in the medical system. While a doctor is usually the one to make a diagnosis and prescribe treatment and medications, nurses are typically the healthcare professionals responsible for carrying out most types of care a patient receives. However, the following are some of the most common types of mistakes that nurses make that can cause significant patient harm:
- Medication mistakes – Nurses are generally responsible for administering medications to patients, but there are times when they give the wrong medication, the wrong dosage of the medication, or fail to give a patient their medication at all.
- Documentation – Proper documentation is critical for patient care and can help ensure that a doctor’s orders are carried out and help prevent a patient from undergoing needless procedures or procedures that have already been completed.
- Infection prevention and control – Nurses are at the forefront of ensuring infections do not spread throughout a healthcare facility. Nurses can ensure that they properly wash and use personal protective equipment and that patient rooms are properly decontaminated.
- Miscommunication – Communication between nurses and doctors, as well as other medical professionals in the hospital, is a critical part of patient care.
- Falls – Many patients inside medical facilities have a high risk of falling. Nurses should know the risks of their patients and takes steps to implement proper fall prevention protocols. This can include using alarms, labels on a patient’s door and room, as well as bed railings.
Holding Nurses Accountable
The North Carolina Court of Appeals recently ruled that nurses cannot be held liable for medical malpractice “based on their diagnosis or treatment of patients.” In its ruling, the court said they were bound by a 1932 decision that held that nurses could not be held liable for medical malpractice for simply carrying out a physician’s orders. Nurses, says the 1932 decision, are not experts in medical diagnosis or treatment.
However, it is very likely that this decision will be appealed, as the nature of nursing has certainly changed since 1932.
Call Us For A Free Consultation Of Your Case
If you or somebody you care about has been injured due to a medical error made by a nurse, speak to an attorney as soon as possible. At Brown, Moore & Associates, PLLC, we have the experience and resources necessary to conduct a full investigation into your claim and will work to secure any compensation you may be entitled to. This can include coverage for any medical bills caused by the mistake, lost income if you are unable to work while you recover, general household out-of-pocket expenses, loss of enjoyment of life damages, and more. When you need a Charlotte medical malpractice attorney, you can contact us for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or calling us at 1-800-948-0577.