Does your expert nurse have all the facts? It is critical for a nurse expert to have reviewed all the medical records pertaining to the incident in question. An incident, such as a fall, can be just a few facts away from either being a result of nursing negligence or considered within the nursing standard of care.
For example, a nurse following the standard of care should do everything in his/her reasonable clinical ability to prevent a patient from falling, but despite every effort, sometimes a patient will fall. E. Kenneth Snyder (2016) stated in the article “A Battle of the Nursing Experts” an example of a case of a patient who had knee surgery, was wearing a brace and had reported that she had got up and walked on her own. This patient had been told not to mobilize on her own and the nurse documented a teaching session on requesting assistance and not getting up on her own. The next day, the patient was offered assistance with personal care and a bed bath but declined assistance for her lower half, her nurse advised her not to get up without assistance and stepped outside of the privacy curtain, so she could finish washing herself. The patient went against advice and did get up on her own and subsequently fell re-injuring her knee.
The plaintiff’s expert wrote in her report that the nurse had helped the patient stand after taking off her knee brace which caused her fall. This would be considered negligent on the nurse’s part, however, the documentation of the fall in the patient’s medical records stated the facts. The patient had in fact stood on her own after being told not to do so. The defense expert pointed out these facts, the patient’s expert had missed these details in the medical records and because of this, the court found no negligence had occurred.
To read this article and the whole case click here and scroll to page 10.
A Battle of the Nursing Experts E. Kenneth Snyder, JD, BSN Editor/Publisher Legal Eagle Eye Newsletter for the Nursing Profession