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By Joseph Dell
Managing Partner

Most people associate doctors with medical malpractice. While this isn’t wrong, malpractice extends far beyond doctors. In reality, anyone who provides treatment to patients can commit medical malpractice, including nurses. In fact, nurses routinely commit malpractice, and they can be held legally accountable for doing so. Like other medical professionals, nurses must provide treatment that meets the applicable standard of care. When they fail to do so, they commit medical malpractice. Nursing malpractice can have serious consequences, including permanent injury and even death. In this article, we discuss how to identify signs of nursing malpractice. 

Examples and Signs of Nursing Malpractice

When nurses commit malpractice, patients often suffer serious health problems. There are many ways that nurses can commit malpractice. Below are some common examples and signs of nursing malpractice.

Failure to Monitor 

Nurses are required to monitor their patients’ medical conditions and vital signs. Patients’ vital signs are key indicators of how they’re responding to treatment, whether they’re in distress, and what additional care they may require. A nurse’s failure to track and monitor these vital signs can have serious consequences for patients, including death.  

In addition to monitoring patients’ vital signs, nurses are required to ensure that patients receive the care they require. Common signs of failing to monitor include the following: 

  • Pressure ulcers
  • Infections 
  • Falls 
  • Urinary tract infections

Medication Errors

Nurses are usually responsible for administering medications to patients. Unfortunately, even minor medication errors can cause serious harm to patients. Patients who are victims of nursing malpractice due to medication errors routinely suffer serious health problems. Common types of medication errors caused by nurses include the following: 

  • Administering the wrong dosage of medication
  • Administering the wrong type of medication
  • Failing to explain possible side effects of medication
  • Failing to explain how the medication should be taken

Common signs that a nurse has made a medication error include: 

  • Unexpected, severe reactions to medication 
  • Sudden blood pressure drops 
  • Loss of consciousness 
  • Death

Documentation Errors

Finally, nurses must ensure that patient’s medical records are accurate and current. Specifically, they must record details concerning each patient’s medications, symptoms, vital signs, and more. Physicians and other medical staff rely heavily upon patient records when diagnosing conditions, prescribing medications, and recommending treatment. When nurses make documentation errors, this results in inaccurate records, which can result in subsequent errors. In other words, doctors who rely on inaccurate records often take actions that cause serious harm to patients. 

Contact a Long Island & New York Medical Malpractice Attorney 

If you are a victim of medical malpractice in Long Island, New York, the experienced medical malpractice attorneys of Dell & Dean, PLLC, are here for you. When you come to us for help following a medical malpractice injury caused by a nurse, doctor, or other medical professional, we will review the facts of your case, map out a legal strategy, and pursue financial compensation from those responsible. Please contact us as soon as possible to arrange a meeting with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer.

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.