The hospital administered the wrong medication- can I bring a suit?

Most often it is a nurse employed by the hospital, not the doctor in charge of your treatment that administers medication. If you were injured because a nurse or attendant administered the wrong medication, you may be wondering what party is the correct party to bring a claim against. There are several options, but, ultimately, the specific facts of your case will guide us in determining the best course of action.

Nursing malpractice happens when a nurse does not fulfill duties in a way that a normally competent nurse in the same situation would — and that negligence injures the patient. As in medical malpractice, however, not every mistake or mishap rises to the level of negligence.

If a nurse commits malpractice while caring for a patient, hospitals are often (but not always) on the hook. A hospital may be legally and financially responsible for a nurse’s negligence if the nurse was an employee of the hospital, if the nurse was fulfilling a job duty when the patient was injured, and if a non-employee doctor did not maintain proper control over the nurse. An attending doctor may also be responsible for the nurse’s actions if: the doctor was present, and the doctor had control to prevent the nurse’s negligence.

If someone is an employee of a hospital, like a nurse, the hospital is responsible (liable) if that employee hurts a patient by acting incompetently. In other words, if the employee is negligent (is not reasonably cautious when treating or dealing with a patient), the hospital is on the hook for any resulting injuries to the patient. Remember that not every mistake or unfortunate event that happens in a hospital rises to the level of negligence. Typically, nurses, medical technicians, and paramedics are hospital employees. As long as the employee was doing something job related when he or she injured the patient, the patient can sue the hospital. For example, if a paramedic employed by the hospital injects the wrong solution into the patient on the way to the hospital, particularly if the medical situation is not life threatening, then the hospital is liable for the paramedic’s mistake. However, if a doctor makes a mistake and injures a patient while working in the hospital, the hospital will not be liable for the doctor’s mistake unless the doctor is an employee, which is actually unlikely. Also, if a hospital employee commits malpractice while under a doctor’s supervision, the patient can sue the doctor, but the hospital may be off the hook. Whether an employee is under the supervision of the doctor when the misdeed occurs depends on whether the doctor was present, and whether the doctor had control to prevent the employee’s negligence. For example, a surgeon may be liable if an attending nurse miscounts the surgical sponges, leading the surgeon to leave a sponge in the patient.

If you or a loved one have been injured as the result of a surgery, medication, or other medical treatment, and believe your injury may have been the product of medical malpractice, you need an attorney that has experience in dealing with medical malpractice claims by your side to make sure you receive all the benefits and compensation you are entitled to as a result of your injury. You need experienced and aggressive attorneys like Dan Newlin & Partners to help you get everything to which you may be entitled. Call us at (407) 888-8000 for a free consultation and to have all your questions answered regarding your injury.