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Negligence - Essay Example

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Negligence [Name of Student] [Name of Institution] Introduction Records and reports indicate that more nurses are being sued for malpractice by the day. In fact, this trend, most evident in the last decade, is expected to increase given that there have been no indications of the signs disappearing…
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Download file to see previous pages... This paper explores the differences among negligence, gross negligence, and malpractice. In addition, the paper discusses the importance of documentation and its connection with a negligence case in which a patient’s wrong leg was amputated. Negligence, Gross Negligence, and Malpractice In general, negligence refers to the failure by a nurse to give care to a patient in a reasonable and prudent manner in the prevailing circumstances. Thus, negligence refers to any harm caused by a nurse’s carelessness, rather than intentional harm. On the other hand, malpractice is a professional negligence, which occurs when an authorized and licensed nurse fails to give patient care according to the laid down standards (Phillips et al., 2004). That is, care below the standards set by the regulatory body. It is worth noting that the poor standard of such care subsequently causes harm to a patient. The table below summarises the differences and similarities between malpractice and negligence Malpractice Negligence Definition A professional nurse gives substandard Though prudent and reasonable, a nurse gives unreasonable care Intentional Yes Can be intentional or not Lawsuits in Civil Courts Civil Courts Proof of lawsuit Duty, Breach, Causation and Damages Duty, Breach, Causation and Damages An example of a malpractice is a nurse who intentionally harms a patient by not performing his or her duties according to the laid down procedures and standards. On the other hand, a nurse harming a patient due to carelessness amounts to negligent act. Therefore, any unintentional action or omission that causes patient injuries is negligence while failure to adhere to nursing standards of practice may result in a malpractice lawsuit (Phillips et al., 2004). According to the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), malpractice refers to an inappropriate, unacceptable, and unethical conducts caused by an unreasonable lack of skill by a professional. On the other hand, gross negligence simply refers extreme cases of carelessness by a nurse. The implication by gross negligence is that a nurse has gone far below the standard of care with which a prudent and reasonable nurse may act towards a patient’s care (Phillips et al., 2004). In gross negligence, there is no trace of or slight evidence of care, even by the standards of a careless person. Thus, gross negligence has a degree difference with negligence. Several reasons have been cited as the main causes of negligence, gross negligence, and malpractice including delegation of duties, early discharge, shortage of nurses, hospital downsizing, numerous and advances in technology, better-informed patients, and expanded legal liability targeting medical professionals. With regards to task delegation, many hospitals have certain cost-cutting and cost-containment strategies, which propel them to delegate nursing duties to unlicensed assistants (Phillips et al., 2004). These assistants may not be aware of a facility's or a regulator’s standards of care or nursing practice act. Second, many facilities discharge patients quite early, prior to full recovery while they still need acute and intensive nursing care. Other cost-containment strategies used in facilities are reduction in the number of nurses, which increases workloads for nurses, thus the likelihood for errors to occur. The many technological ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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