Is the Nurse to Blame?

When you think of a medical malpractice lawsuit, most people imagine doctors as the accused party. Doctors prescribing the wrong drug, administering too high of a dosage, misdiagnosing an issue…any number of factors could lead a doctor to a malpractice lawsuit.

Something few think of, however, is that nurses may be to blame for a mistake. Nurses are often the ones who handle the actual care of a patient. While the doctor prescribes drugs, dosages, and treatments, it’s often on the nurse to administer those treatments. If the nurse fails to tend to a patient properly, or administers the wrong type or dosage of a drug, the results can be devastating—perhaps even fatal.

Heparin Overdose Cases

In a situation in Indianapolis, three infants died after being injected with an adult dosage of Heparin, an anticoagulant that prevents the formation of clots in blood. Six infants total were injected with adult dosages, though three of the infants survived. Several nurses and a pharmacy technician were questioned as a result.

These are classic examples of situations that can occur when a nurse isn’t completely conscious of his or her actions. Situations like this are preventable, and while mistakes happen, nurses are held to the same standard that doctors are—if not even higher. Everyone interacting with a patient—whether diagnosing or administering treatment—must be conscious of their actions, and the impacts they can have on patients’ lives.

Other Errors

There are various situations in which a simple mistake can lead to a terrible result (several are outlined in the article linked above). From not recognizing that a patient needs immediate care, improper care of a patient which leads to bed sores, to administering an incorrect drug or dosage during a procedure, these little mistakes can lead to horrible outcomes. Other situations may include:

  • Failure to adequately monitor a patient
  • Dispensing medication to the wrong patient
  • Failure to follow a doctor’s orders
  • Performing procedures improperly or without adequate training
  • Providing the doctor with incorrect information

Nurses are a valuable part of medical care, but they must be held to the same standard that we expect of doctors. When we entrust our lives to medical professionals, we are putting great responsibility in their hands. Avoidable mistakes and neglect cannot be accepted as human error.

Have you been injured as a result of medical malpractice? Every Indiana medical malpractice lawyer at Christie Farrell Lee & Bell has experience and can help you explore your options.