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By Joseph Dell
Managing Partner

Nurses play an important role in hospitals and clinics. However, when nurses make mistakes, the consequences can be catastrophic. In the state of New York, the Nurse Practice Act outlines the duties of nurses. One key component of this law is that it forbids nurses from providing services that they aren’t competent to perform. When a nurse practices outside his or her scope of competence or performs beyond what is permitted under New York law, then he or she may be held liable for medical malpractice. 

What is Nursing Malpractice?

Just like doctors and other health care professionals, nurses are held to a high professional standard. Nurses perform many important duties, including recognizing the symptoms and signs of various injuries and diseases. In addition, nurses are required to record and report changes in these symptoms and signs. When nurses fail to perform their duties, patients often suffer serious consequences. 

However, not every mistake that a nurse makes rises to the level of malpractice. Rather, when a nurse fails to abide by the standards of the nursing profession, and a patient is harmed as a result, this may constitute nursing malpractice.  To succeed in a malpractice lawsuit, a plaintiff must prove the following: 

  1. the nurse owed the patient a professional standard of care,
  2. the nurse breached this standard of care,
  3. the nurse’s breach resulted in an injury to the patient, and 
  4. the patient suffered damages as a result of his or her injury.

Nursing Malpractice Examples 

Common types of nursing errors that constitute nursing malpractice include the following:

  • Medication errors
  • Documentation errors
  • Improper use of a medical device
  • Failure to properly assess
  • Failure to intervene 
  • Failure to abide by the doctor’s orders
  • Failure to recognize a patient’s signs or symptoms 
  • Failure to alert the doctor to changes in the patient’s medical condition 

Damages of Nursing Malpractice 

A plaintiff who successfully proves nursing malpractice may be entitled to multiple types of damages. The damages available in a medical malpractice lawsuit are designed to place the plaintiff back in the position that he or she would have been in had the injury never occurred. Common damages in medical malpractice cases include: 

  • Lost wages
  • Medical bills
  • Pain and suffering
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Replacement services

In addition, nursing malpractice sometimes leads to a patient’s death. In this type of case, the decedent’s personal representative may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party. A wrongful death lawsuit is an available legal action when a person’s death is the result of a defendant’s wrongful act or negligence. 

Contact a Long Island Medical Malpractice Attorney 

If you or a loved one are a victim of medical malpractice in New York, you need an experienced legal team in your corner. At Dell & Dean, PLLC, we represent victims in medical malpractice cases throughout the state of New York. Please contact us today to arrange a free initial consultation with one of our knowledgeable medical malpractice attorneys

About the Author
Joseph G. Dell, the firm’s Managing Partner, is regarded as one of New York State’s top trial lawyers and a zealous advocate of those injured through the negligence of others. Having founded the firm in 1994 with the singular goal of leveling the playing field for those injured, Mr. Dell has worked tirelessly for his clients since its inception. In addition to meeting with clients on a daily basis and trying cases, Mr. Dell is a frequent lecturer at Law School and Bar Associations on cases of significant importance in the fields of negligence and medical malpractice. If you have any questions regarding this article, you can contact Mr. Dell here.