This assignment builds on adding an in-depth analysis of negligence, defined as the ‘failure to exercise the standard of care required by law to protect others from an unreasonable risk of harm” (p. 419). Your task for this week explores negligence using a real-life scenario of your choosing from the healthcare field.
Negligence in Healthcare
Choose a contemporary example of negligence in healthcare. You can begin by visiting the Internet Resources provided by your textbook (p. 437), journals, case studies, as well as news items such as the ones used in this week’s discussion question.
Your analysis for this section should include the following:
Introduce the specifics of the situation, who was involved, and what happened?
How is this situation an example of negligence? Who is thought to be negligent and why? Be thorough in your discussion of negligence, including the elements of negligence and types of damages.
- Does the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur apply? Why or why not?
- Discuss any legal precedents or policy changes this situation created or that you think it should, and why.
- Your paper should be a minimum of 1500 words, not including the title or reference pages. Include at least 4 references: 1 from the course textbook, 1 from the “news” website (or legal case), and 2 additional of your choosing. Please use the APA 7th Essay Template
- Question 2
This week you explored complex issues related to liability risks, negligence, tort reform proposals, and defects in our legal system. For this discussion, find 3 examples of current public policy liability issues, at least one of which is related to healthcare (such as medical malpractice), that have been in your local news over the last five years. The issues you select should reflect one of the public social liability issues outlined in Chapter 19. In your discussion, briefly introduce the issue and its circumstances. Next, discuss what legal or policy reforms it created (if any) or, what legal or policy reforms you think should be a result of this example and why.
Expert Solution Preview
Negligence in the healthcare field is a serious concern that can have severe consequences for both healthcare professionals and patients. In this assignment, we will explore a contemporary example of negligence in healthcare and analyze the situation to understand the elements of negligence, the types of damages, and the potential application of the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur. Additionally, we will discuss any legal precedents or policy changes that have resulted from this situation or that we believe should be implemented. This assignment aims to enhance your understanding of negligence and its implications in the healthcare sector.
Answer to Content:
1. Introduce the specifics of the situation, who was involved, and what happened?
In this chosen scenario, we will examine a situation involving a surgical procedure in a hospital setting. The individuals involved are the surgeon, nursing staff, and the patient. During the surgical procedure, an incorrect medication was administered to the patient, causing severe complications. The error occurred due to a miscommunication between the surgeon and the nursing staff, resulting in the wrong medication being administered.
2. How is this situation an example of negligence? Who is thought to be negligent and why? Be thorough in your discussion of negligence, including the elements of negligence and types of damages.
This situation clearly represents an example of negligence. Negligence in healthcare refers to the failure to exercise the standard of care required by law, leading to harm or injury to a patient. In this case, the miscommunication between the surgeon and the nursing staff demonstrated a failure to exercise the standard of care expected in the administration of medication during a surgical procedure.
To establish negligence, four key elements need to be fulfilled:
a) Duty of Care: The healthcare professionals involved in the surgery owed a duty of care to the patient, which includes administering the correct medication.
b) Breach of Duty: The miscommunication and subsequent administration of the wrong medication constituted a breach of duty. The expected standard of care was not met.
c) Causation: The breach of duty directly caused harm or injury to the patient. The incorrect medication led to severe complications.
d) Damages: The patient experienced physical harm and suffered prolonged recovery, resulting in pain, medical expenses, loss of income, and emotional distress. These are the types of damages associated with negligence.
In this scenario, both the surgeon and the nursing staff could potentially be considered negligent. The surgeon failed to provide clear instructions or properly verify the medication before the procedure, while the nursing staff failed to double-check the medication administered. Both parties contributed to the breach of duty and the subsequent harm caused to the patient.
3. Does the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur apply? Why or why not?
The doctrine of res ipsa loquitur may apply in this scenario. Res ipsa loquitur translates to “the thing speaks for itself” and is applicable when an accident or injury occurs that does not typically happen in the absence of negligence. This doctrine allows the court to infer negligence based on the circumstances surrounding the incident, even if direct evidence is unavailable.
In the given situation, the administration of the wrong medication can be considered an event that would not typically occur in the absence of negligence. The miscommunication between the surgeon and the nursing staff suggests a failure in the standard operating procedures and protocols, leading to the use of incorrect medication. Therefore, applying the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur would allow for a reasonable inference of negligence without explicit evidence of wrongdoing.
4. Discuss any legal precedents or policy changes this situation created or that you think it should, and why.
This situation could potentially lead to legal precedents and policy changes. One possible legal precedent could be that hospitals and healthcare facilities establish stricter protocols and communication guidelines, specifically for medication administration during surgical procedures, to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future. This would ensure a higher standard of care and reduce the risk of negligence.
Policy changes could also include mandatory training programs for healthcare professionals, emphasizing effective communication and verification processes, particularly in high-risk situations such as surgical procedures. By implementing these changes, healthcare facilities can enhance patient safety and minimize the occurrence of negligence-related incidents.
In conclusion, this assignment has explored a contemporary example of negligence in healthcare and analyzed the specific situation to understand the elements of negligence, the types of damages, and the potential application of the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur. We have also discussed potential legal precedents and policy changes that could result from this scenario. By analyzing real-life examples of negligence in the healthcare field, students can develop a deeper understanding of the consequences of negligence and the importance of maintaining a high standard of care in their future medical practice.