University of Phoenix
Health Law & Ethics
Being a medical professional has many challenges when dealing with direct patient care.
Sometimes in the best of circumstances, incidents occur with patients that cause undue harm. This paper will differentiate between negligence, gross negligence, and malpractice. It will also discuss the article “Amputation Mishap; Negligence” from the Neighborhood newspaper. It will discuss the importance of documentation and the ethical principles that would guide my practice as a nurse.
Negligence can be defined as the failure to use reasonable care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in like ...view middle of the document...
(West, 1998). The failure to meet a standard of care or conduct that is recognized by a profession is considered malpractice when a patient is injured or damaged because of error. An example of malpractice would be if a patient went to the emergency room with chest pain and the physician fails to diagnose a myocardial infarction and is sent home by the staff and dies later that day.
The article from the newspaper discusses a patient who has been a lifetime diabetic with circulatory issues, and was in need of an amputation below his right knee. The surgery was performed and when the patient awoke after surgery he discovered that the wrong leg had been amputated. The patient was in a state of shock and could not comprehend that the wrong leg was amputated. The hospital staff had no comment after the incident but had been having issues with the union and nursing shortages. The patient now has to face the fact that he most likely will have another surgery to have the correct leg amputated and face life as a bilateral amputee.
Based on the information from the article, this patient suffered permanent non-reversible damage that will affect him for the rest of his life. In this case, I believe that malpractice occurred and all that were involved in the surgery are liable. Regardless of union issues or nursing shortages, the hospital staff had an obligation to the patient is ensure that he had proper care that did not cause the patient further injury or damage. What the article failed to mention was what steps the hospital has in place to prevent future errors, such as the one in the article, from occurring. The process would have to start from admission until discharge involving thorough documentation.
Documentation, in the case of the patient that had the wrong leg amputated, could have possibly prevented the mishap if done correctly. The admission assessment should be completed on the day of admission. All sections should be completed and any pertinent information about the patient should be communicated to the physician. On most admission assessments there are anatomical figures of the body that can be used to document skin impairments and wound locations. If I were the nurse admitting the patient, I would circle the leg that was to be amputated on the figure provided on the nursing assessment and document that it was to be surgically removed on the date scheduled.
Further documentation would be important, especially the day of the...