Jones Smith
7 Min Read

Medical malpractice is a phrase we all get scared of, and rightly so. Doctors and nurses have a highly critical job to do where every wrong action and decision may impact another person’s health. Slight negligence can cause the patient to face a life-long blow to their physical wellbeing or even cause death. It is why the medical profession requires an extremely high level of caution and care.

Since doctors and nurses are also human, even though they may show great care when carrying out the treatment, some mistakes and errors are bound to happen. Such situations most commonly arise when a facility is understaffed. The professionals do not get enough rest and hence, are overworked. Another reason for medical malpractice is a lack of assistance and guide specifically to the staff who has just entered the field. By providing a proper working environment and a sturdy support system to the staff, it is probable to prevent or minimize the occurrence of such errors and mistakes.

Below, we have discussed some of the most common medical malpractice in nursing worldwide.

  1. Documentation Errors

A nurse must assist the doctor in providing top-notch medical care to the patient in a medical facility. A large part of a nurse’s job comprises creating and maintaining patients’ health records. Since doctors rely hugely on patient’s data, this information must be free from errors. While doctors diagnose their patients, they need to know everything relating to their current health condition and medical history. Depending on this information, doctors draw out a treatment plan that the nursing staff needs to follow.

So, for example, consider a nurse forgetting to pen down details regarding drugs that can cause anaphylaxis. If this medication gets prescribed in the treatment plan, the patient can easily have an allergic reaction and fall seriously sick. Thus, nurses must pay unwavering attention when documenting details relating to the patient’s illness, treatment, and other details.

Young nurses who have just entered into the field, or those furthering their degree in MSN to DNP online on campus-based education programs, are generally taught about the importance of correct documentation. Perhaps, some of the details that a nurse may need to document are:

  • The current medical status of the patient and the treatment being followed
  • Signs of any distress or deteriorating health
  • Documenting and reporting any sudden adverse changes in health
  • The patient’s medical history and current vitals such as BP, fever, heart rate, etc.
  1. Administering The Wrong Medications

One other common error that nurses make is administering the wrong medication, incorrect dosage of medication, or prescribing medicines to the wrong patient. All these errors can prove fatal and are not to be taken lightly. Nursing staff needs to be extra cautious when administering medications and avoid anything that distracts them. Fresh nurses are more at risk of making such mistakes due to the work pressure and stress. However, experienced nurses are also prone to making such errors during excessive workloads. The best way to avoid making mistakes is to avert anything that shifts your focus, and while you are at work, give complete attention to the patient under your care.

  1. Failing To Prevent Infections

One thing most people may not see coming is falling sick because of going to the hospital. But hospital-related infections or HAI are a real thing. A patient may go to a hospital to get treatment but may develop further symptoms because of an infection they contracted at the hospital. Such infections can deteriorate patient’s health, extend their stay at the hospital, increase treatment costs for the caregivers, etc.

Nurses and other medical staff can easily avoid hospital-related infections by maintaining proper hygiene and care. Since nurses are directly involved with the patient in administering the treatment and taking care of other needs, hygiene is extremely critical.

Moreover, a hospital is where most people come with an illness or an underlying medical condition. It increases the risk of one patient contracting a disease from the other, making it all the more crucial to maintain hygiene procedures. Medical facilities should have strict rules and regulations laid out for the nurses to follow. Failure to maintain proper hygiene is one common medical malpractice that results in developing HAI among patients.

  1. Surgical or Procedural Issues

Many times a small mistake can cause an unnecessary injury for patients. Surgical or procedural errors tend to occur when a surgeon or any other healthcare member makes an avoidable error which ultimately worsens the patient’s condition. One of the common procedural issues is related to the failure of healthcare staff in performing standard or accepted medical practices before, during, and after surgery. In contrast, other procedural errors such as leaving surgical equipment in a patient’s body, causing injury to an organ, failing to inform the patient about the risks associated with the injury, injecting anesthesia in an inappropriate proportion, etc., can develop severe consequences to the patient’s health. However, in the most severe cases, these errors may lead to hefty penalties to hospitals via lawsuits.

Final Words

Malpractices in healthcare can cause significant effects on patient’s health. However, the first step towards reducing errors in a medical facility is knowing the common mistakes prone to occur in a medical setup. We have highlighted some of these mistakes above. If you are a nurse, know that it is best to stay cautious and steer clear situations that risk such errors.

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I am Jones Smith and I am here to share my experience and expertise in writing. I've been writing articles for different publications for more than 6 years. I have a varied range of interests and that's why I love blogging about different topics. In my opinion, blogging is a lot like acting, and I consider writing blog posts as an acting job. I am an entrepreneur by heart and there is nothing big or small when it comes to starting a business.