Mary Burke PhD, RN, CNE
Envision that you woke up in the recovery room after being sedated for a medical procedure; you found out that you lost one of your limbs due to amputation. You are in and out of consciousness. They took you to a step-down unit eventually after you were in recovery for two hours, so that you will recover, receive therapy and teaching. Finally the staff settles you into your bed. You throw back your bed sheets, and you saw that they had amputated the sound limb and left you with the unfortunate leg that was supposed to be cut off by the hospital physician. “The joint commission considers wrong site surgery to be sentinel events that are an unexpected occurrence involving death or serious physical or physiological injury, or the risk from that point forward. Serious injury specifically includes loss of limb or function” (Dillon, 2008) Mr. Joseph Benson is a sixty-two-year-old who has circulation problems and is diabetic; one of his limbs requires amputation. I will explain in this negligence paper the differences that separate negligence, gross negligence, and malpractice. I will look into the reasoning why nursing shortages and union problems may have caused the disaster. Finally, I will state why it is important to document because of the chances of negligence should I be Mr. Benson’s nurse. Briefly I will describe my ethical principles concept, this will guide my hospital practice and I documented the case that will satisfy legal and moral requirements.
“Negligence is described as failure to use such care as a reasonably prudent and careful person would use under similar circumstance” (Weld and Bibb, 2009, p.3). Negligence can be deemed as “carelessness a deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would use in a particular set of circumstances. (Guido, 2010, p.92). Some typical examples that point to negligence are as follows: inadequate hydration, malnutrition, never turning on an Apnea monitor and lack of care. Negligence occurred when the Neighborhood hospital, amputated the sound leg from one of the patient. There are five items that meet a valid case of negligence:”1. Breach of duty owed the patient, 2. Duty owed the patient 3. Causation, 4. Foreseeability, 5. Injury” (Guido, 2010, p.94).
Gross negligence is dangerous carelessness. It is a deliberate act that could cause any person harm. For example keeping a bedridden person on their bed, without changing their clothing and the patient develops bed sore, due to skin breakdown because the patient was not being rotated. When someone is suspected of gross negligence, there should be proof that the person that caused the incident did act in an unsafe way and did violate his/her duty as an individual. Another example of gross negligence is to give a patient a high dose of narcotic rather than waste the unused narcotic in other to keep the patient quiet due to a hectic shift. The nurse may have consciously decided to sedate this patient against physician orders. This will constitute gross negligence on the part of the nurse. Mr. Benson’s doctor I think, in this case, may be guilty of gross negligence. Had the doctor followed checklists and timeouts, may be the sound limb would not have being medically severed.
According to Guido (2010) “Courts have continually defined negligence as any professional misconduct, unreasonable lack of skill, or fidelity in vocational or judicial duties”. “Baron’s Law Dictionary (1991) defines negligence as an improper or immoral conduct in the performance of functions, either intentionally, through carelessness or ignorance.” (Weld, Garmon, Bibb, 2009). The medical doctor could be found guilty of medical malpractice, caused by his neglect in his professional duty that came in question about Mr. Benson’s welfare. During the time before the surgery was performed, did the medical