Are you scared of being sued or do you know someone who got sued for malpractice?

  1. Hi, I am a new grad and working in a nursing home...It finally hit me that lawsuits can be flying everywhere..I guess that is the drawback of the job..Do you know someone who got sued before or are you scared that it might happen to you?
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   MIA-RN1
    I am scared I will be sued. We work with too many patients and the orientation is good but not great. I worry all the time because I care for newborns. We are short staffed and I can't always get the help I need.
    I have NSO insurance just in case.
  4. by   nuangel1
    i do think about the possibility .but i don't worry about it .i am careful in my actions deeds and charting.but i do have my own malpractice ins.just in case.
  5. by   augigi
    I've thought about it, since I had to testify in coroner's court as a new grad. I am careful with documentation, but the threat here is nothing like that in the US.
  6. by   ERNP
    If I had a nickel for everytime I said, "OH that? It's for the attorney." I would be a rich woman. Which of course would make me an even better target for a lawsuit.
  7. by   Sheri257
    This link gives you a good idea of what nurses get sued for although, it also mentions cases that were won, not just lost.

    Nursing medical malpractice / professional liability insurance, newsletter, articles, continuing education, and legal case study for RN, LPN, nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist

    OB seems to be the highest risk for lawsuits especially because the damages can be much higher than with elderly patients.

    And, in my state, a child can sue for damages once they reach 18 if the parents fail to sue.

    :typing
    Last edit by Sheri257 on Nov 14, '06
  8. by   teeituptom
    I never worry about it. I am too old to worry about it.
  9. by   UKRNinUSA
    That's what malpractice insurance is for -why worry when I can pay someone else $90 a year to do the worrying for me.
  10. by   santhony44
    I've been named once. It was a "fishing expedition" type suit that was quickly dropped when the hospital didn't fold immediately. Everyone whose name was in the chart was named in the suit.

    Still a traumatic event.

    Document, document, document. Just understand that you could be named in a suit no matter what you do, but document in a manner you'd be comfortable explaining.

    BTW, the suit I mentioned was filed a couple of years after the "event" and I took care of the patient for one shift. Never have been able to remember him!
  11. by   Lacie
    It's not only patients and families that you need to be concerned about. Be aware of what you do regarding daily work place also. Co-workers with grudges or someone that doesnt see things just the same as you.....for instance in providing restraint to a combative patient as an example. Many nurses are reported to the BON's for things that should never have happened nor are even guilty of. Yet they end up in the web of dealing with defending themselves. In the world of nursing you are found to be guilty unless you are able to prove yourself innocent unlike the legal system offered to criminals. You may have given pain meds more than another nurse on the unit, forgot to write that order for mylanta, what ever. You would be surprised how many there are fighting for the most minute reasons. Most nurses have no clue of just how fragile thier licensure can be. Many dont see the need to carry liabilty insurance thinking they wont be sued. Granted you may not be sued but you may need that liability insurance to deal with fighting for your licensure with the boards if a co-worker, family member, nieghbor, or anyone wants to make any type of complaint to the boards. There are several threads on this forum in itself showing very good example of these type situations.
  12. by   Daytonite
    I've worried about this for 30 years. Consequently, I've taken a handful of continuing education courses on the nurse and the law. I've boned up on charting. Had a patient who fell climbing over the sides rails of her bed during our change of shift report many years ago and broke BOTH her hips. Don't you think I didn't chart until smoke was coming off the tips of my fingers that night! Never heard anything from it. Before I was an RN I had another patient in a nursing home who got out of her bed one night, took her cane and beat the crap out of the lady in the bed next to her breaking her wrist. I was only an aide, but I charted, in quotation marks, comments that both ladies made to me. I got a call from one of the lawyers only to verify that the ladies had indeed said those things and I had not made them up. I worried that I might be going to court, but nothing ever came of it. I've only known of two nurses of the hundreds I've worked with who were involved in malpractice suits. Both were patient families suing the acute hospitals. Each of the nurses were involved directly with whatever the incidents were. They met with the hospital attorneys, had given previous depositions and still ended up having to testify in court. You could see they were emotional wrecks on the days they had to actually go to court. Bottom line was that the families were going after the hospital because that was where the money was. Lawyers will often tell you that your attitude toward patients is so important. If you end up getting sued, your attitude becomes really important. I recently took yet another course in law. The lawyer teaching the class told us that when a lawsuit is filed, usually everyone whose name is connected with caring for the patient is named on the lawsuit whether they were in the right or wrong regarding the incident in question. The reason that is done is because later on down the line they can easily remove a defendant's name from a lawsuit, but they can't add one on. So, it's just easier at the start to name everyone. Ultimately, it's about the money in the end so the one with the money is who is usually left holding the bag. Unless a nurse really did something so outrageous, it's usually the doctors or the facilities who get the final bill. There are some who recommend that nurses not even carry malpractice insurance since some lawyers will go after these nurses in lawsuits merely because there is money to be had from the insurance company. That is a decision that each nurse would have to make since we all have assets (like bank accounts and homes) that might need protecting. Still, the emotional roller coaster is a hard blow to take.
  13. by   Lacie
    Always care Malpractice insurance. Please read this thread http://allnurses.com/forums/f8/any-n...on-186431.html
    This nurse and her husband are now having to pay out thousands and thousands to present to the bon to prove his innocence. I have been following thier story on another forum. This was not the pt family but a co-worker that made the report directly to the BON although the hospital found no wrong doing. You further have to pay for any hearings the boards do if you dont admit guilt and agree to go with the program so to speak. I hope she comes back and sees this post as I'm sure she will tell anyone the same. I myself had to do 2 depositions in my 25 year career for doctors being sued for malpractice but I have known alot of nurses that have had to put up the $ to stand before the board for complaints against them that never should have happened. Most nurses have no idea that malpractice insurance is also for this type coverage. Dont take it for granted it will never happen to you as it very well can when you least expect it. I am more fearful of not having it than of being sued because I have it.
  14. by   CHATSDALE
    i have know several nurses who were sued and others who lost their license and others who were suspended for like six months on different charges

    often it is the cases you believe are sue happy never show up and the case you can't remember until you go back and read the charting will have you sweating...hospitals don't usually pay you for court time so while you are up there trying to save your hiney even if you win you lose

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