Proudly Fighting
for West Virginia
Injury Victims


Can Nurses Be Sued for Medical Malpractice?

Published on Jul 9, 2024 at 2:54 pm in Medical Malpractice.

Medical malpractice is a serious concern for many patients. When you visit a health care provider, you expect to be properly treated for illnesses or injuries. If these professionals fail to live up to their duty, they may be accountable for their actions.

While doctors and surgeons may seem like the most negligent providers, nurses also bear responsibility for caring for their patients. If they neglect their duty of care, they could also face legal repression.

Let’s look into whether nurses can be sued for medical malpractice.

Defining Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice occurs when a health care professional, including nurses, fails to provide a patient with the appropriate standard of care. Many times, this results in harm, injury, or even death of the patient. In fact, medical mistakes are now the third leading cause of death in the United States according to a study published by the BMJ.

Since nurses are trained in the latest health care practices, they are able to act appropriately to treat patients. Yes, nurses can be held legally responsible for their actions or omissions.

To pursue a medical malpractice claim, you need to prove that the health care professional deviated from a set standard of care in treating you. In these situations, nurses could be negligent, provide improper treatment, or fail to provide adequate care.

Nurses’ Liability

Nurses are an important part of the health care system. While they provide care with diligence, sometimes, there are circumstances where they can be sued for malpractice. Let’s look at a few examples.

Inadequate Patient Monitoring

Nurses are expected to keep a watchful eye and monitor patients, especially those in critical condition. Failure to notice changes in a patient’s condition can lead to serious consequences. Sometimes, these actions can result in a malpractice lawsuit.

Medication Errors

Another common cause for a malpractice lawsuit against a nurse is medication errors.

Often, nurses are the ones making sure that patients receive the right dose of medication at the appropriate time. When they administer the wrong medication, incorrect dosage, or failing to verify allergies, it can cause an adverse reaction to the patient.

All nurses must verify the medication order with the prescribing physician. With that, they can ensure they have the right medication, the correct dose, and the proper method of administration.

Patient Falls

All medical providers must make sure that patients are safe during their hospital stay. Inadequate supervision or failure to implement fall prevention measures can lead to patient falls.

Sometimes, these can cause serious injuries or even death. Nurses must assess fall risks and take preventive actions to minimize these risks.

Pressure Injuries

Bedridden patients are susceptible to developing pressure injuries, also known as bedsores.

Many times, nurses or their assistants are responsible for turning these patients. This process can prevent bedsores from developing. If someone develops pressure injuries, they can lead to infections or sepsis. A nurse who is neglectful in their duties could be held accountable for these injuries.

Failure To Monitor Promptly

Accurate monitoring of vital signs and symptoms is important in identifying changes in patient condition and initiating appropriate interventions. Nurses must be vigilant in monitoring their patients and responding promptly to any changes in their condition.

Any delayed responses to changes in a patient’s vital signs or symptoms can be grounds for legal action.

Charting Mistakes

Proper documentation is another part of patient care. When nurses care for their patients, their charts should be accurate and up to date. Mistakes in charting can have serious consequences. Sometimes, they can cause a delay or incorrect treatment.

Most importantly, they can lead to miscommunication between health care providers, which could put the patient’s health at risk.

Can You Protect Yourself From Mistakes?

Protecting yourself from medical mistakes is crucial for both health care professionals and patients. First, you should clearly communicate your symptoms, medical history, and any allergies to your health care provider.  Knowing your medications is also important. While nurses are responsible for giving you the correct medications, you should understand the purpose, dosage, and potential side effects of these drugs.

Additionally, you should not hesitate to ask questions about their diagnosis, treatment plan, or procedures. If something seems unclear, always seek clarification.

While you cannot prevent mistakes from happening, you can take an active role in your medical treatment. Hopefully, that will keep you safe and prevent errors from doctors, nurses, and other medical providers.

We rely on nurses to ensure proper treatment for illnesses, injuries, and other health concerns.

When they fail to live up to the industry standards, they could be liable for your injuries or damages. Nurses, doctors, and other health care professionals who harm you can be sued for medical malpractice. At DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC, we know that medical malpractice can damage your trust in the health care system and put additional pressure on your finances and health.

Remember, if a professional medical provider makes a mistake, you may be able to file a lawsuit against them.