Case Study: Tort - Essay Example

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X, a 69 year old who is hospitalized for GI disorder, the shift nurse administered enema without the consent of the patient. The patient was depressed and uncooperative and he expressed his dislike for the enema. However, without listening to his opposition,…
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Case Study Analysis: Tort Case Study Analysis: Tort In the case of MR. X, a 69 year old who is hospitalized for GI disorder, the shift nurse administered enema without the consent of the patient. The patient was depressed and uncooperative and he expressed his dislike for the enema. However, without listening to his opposition, the nurse turned the patient and administered enema.
Every patient has the three basic rights of autonomy, privacy and informed consent. Considering this fact, it becomes evident that the 69 old Mr. X too had the right to all these. Out of al these, it is seen that his right to informed consent is violated through the activity. According to American Medical Association, it is necessary that every patient must receive all the relevant information in terms they can understand and comprehend; also, the term ‘informed consent’ means that a patient’s refusal to allow a particular procedure should be respected (as cited in Guido & Watson, n. d. p. 77).
In the case of Mr. X, the patient is elderly, depressed and uncooperative. That means when the patient refused to give consent, either the patient could have been give more time and information to decide, or another person who is legally entitled to give consent could have been contacted. In the absence of all these, the nurse could have reported the matter to the supervisor instead of administering enema without consent.
In this particular case, the nurse has gently turned the patient in his bed and administered enema. This happened despite the patient’s repeated claim that he did not want an enema then. Thus, the nurse has committed a tort that comes under intentional torts. Intentional torts are the torts that violate the rights of the patient. Some people possess the misconception that a tort becomes intentional tort only when it results in actual harm. However, the reality is that a tort is there when a patient’s rights are violated.
According to Croke (2003), there are three forms of intentional torts. They are assault, battery, and false imprisonment. The term ‘assault’ can be defined as a threat of being touched in an offensive, insulting, or physically injurious manner. ‘Battery’ is actually touching a person or the person’s property without consent; and examples of battery include even forcing a patient to ambulate against his or her wish and restraining a patient without permission to implement a procedure (Croke, 2003, p. 54).
Admittedly, in the given case, the said Mr. X was not willing to allow enema at that time. In such an eventuality, it is necessary for the nurse to ensure that there is a legal consent on the part of the patient to allow the procedure. In fact, it is likely for the nurse to argue that the patient suffered no harm, injury, or pain as a result of the enema she administered without consent. However, the mere fact is that it is not necessary to cause any harm to the patient for a battery to occur. Battery can occur even without the knowledge of the patient. Thus, measuring the pulse of a sleeping patient too comes under the purview of battery.
In total, the patient has a legal case against the nurse and the tort will be the intentional tort of battery.
Croke , E. M. (2003). Nurses, negligence, and malpractice. American Journal of Nursing, 103 (9): 54.
Guido, G. W & Watson, A. (n. d.). “Ethical and Legal Guidelines for Nursing Practice”, Chapter 4. In Concepts related to health care delivery and nursing practice. Retrieved from Read More
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