Patient rights are not a subject that is spoken about nearly enough in American society. A few years ago, a groundbreaking research review conducted by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine revealed that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Millions of non-fatal medical errors also occur annually. And yet, because this subject is not discussed nearly enough, many—if not most—patients are unaware of their rights in the wake of a medical error or another form of potentially actionable medical negligence.
Medical Malpractice Basics
Not every medical mistake or misstep is legally actionable. There are times that accidents occur and these incidents are nobody’s fault. For example, if a nurse is administering medication and—with absolutely no warning or prior knowledge of having a seizure disorder—begins to seize, the amount of medication dispensed into a patient’s IV might be incorrect as a result of the nurse’s involuntary movements. In this scenario, the nurse could not be held legally liable for their medical error.
Generally speaking though, medical providers (including physicians, technicians, pharmacists, nurses, and medical facilities) can be held liable for medical malpractice if they provide substandard care when compared to a reasonably competent provider facing similar circumstances. Any patient who suffers injury or illness as a result of this specific kind of substandard care may be in a position to file legal action.
When Nurses Provide Substandard Care
As an experienced Philadelphia, PA medical malpractice lawyer – including those who practice at Wieand Law Firm, LLC – can confirm, it isn’t always easy for patients to know when they have grounds upon which to file legal action. Oftentimes, critical information is withheld from patients when medical providers try to shield themselves from the potential consequences of making an error. Additionally, there are times when nurses and other providers are unaware that they have either made an error or provided substandard care that later resulted in harm. As a result, it is a good idea to have a lawyer investigate your situation if you suspect—but do not know for sure—that you may have a case.
Exploring Your Legal Options
If you believe that you may have suffered as a result of substandard care from a nurse, it is a good idea to explore your legal options with the assistance of an attorney who handles medical malpractice cases. You may be entitled to significant compensation as a result of the harm you have experienced.