Legal Risks To Nurses Free Sample Research Paper

The relevant legal issues for this case are the failure to record information, inappropriate care, and delay in treatment (Pozgar, 2012). The action of omission falls below the standards of nursing and indicates that she did not follow the accepted procedure of her job performance.


Mr. Ard is a patient whose death is the main event in this case. Moments before dying, Ard’s wife expressed concern about his health and used the hospital’s emergency alerting system to call for assistance. The nature of the emergency for Mr. Ard was noted as difficulty in breathing. It took an hour and twenty-five minutes for an emergency response to arrive at Mr. Ard’s aid, which was too late to save his life. The hospital then faced charges of negligence leading to death, for failing to act on the obvious condition of the patient. The hospital lost the case because it had no records to show that it followed the standard procedure in taking care of Ard’s high risk of aspiration.

The nurse responsible, Ms. Florscheim did not have official records to collaborate with her statement of checking on the patient, as claimed during the trial. In addition, the hospital defence admitted to wrongdoing by failing to respond much earlier to the distress call, which is the expected standard of the hospital. However, the admission depended on the truth of Mrs Ard’s statement of the actual time that she rang the bell.

Things went wrong in the case because there was no immediate response to the distress call. Responding fast would have saved Mr. Ard’s life and prevented the legal suit that followed. In addition, things went wrong for the hospital’s defence during the trial because there were no records to match its claims of adequate care for the patient. Even though the statement by Mrs. Ard could be wrong, the lack of official records made it impossible to deny the existence of laxity in the hospital.

The relevant legal issues for this case are the failure to record information, inappropriate care, and delay in treatment (Pozgar, 2012). The action of omission falls below the standards of nursing and indicates that she did not follow the accepted procedure of her job performance. The case for inappropriate care exists because Ms. Krebs, the expert in general nursing, pointed out that the patient had a high risk for aspiration and would have qualified for additional care. Ms. Krebs elaborated that physician’s progress notes showed the severe condition of the patient. Under this case’s circumstances, the physician faces a case of negligence since he or she controls the actions of nurses. In the same manner, the nurse in charge ought to have recorded her visit, and the type of care administered to facilitate subsequent care procedures on the patient.

The hospital may argue that Mrs. Ard could have contributed to the negligence by not being inquisitive enough about the patient’s condition. However, the law comes to her defense stating that it is not her duty or that of the patient to set their judgment against the expert offering treatment. It was appropriate for her to trust the capacities of the hospital and its physicians. There is no evidence of the physician’s instruction for the patient, and this removes Mr. and Mrs. Ard from any claim of misdoing (Slovenko, 2005). In her defense, Ms. Florscheim could argue that she was not liable for negligence because she did the reasonable thing under the circumstance (Legal questions, 1999). Other than failing to record her visitation, no evidence suggests that the patient subsequent emergency was a result of her previous checkup. Her response to the first call bell and administration of nausea medication might have prolonged Ard’s life.

The unfortunate death of Mr. Ard was avoidable. A culture of accountability and quality in the hospital would inform nurses and physicians to be extra careful with medical record procedures and call bell responses. Since everyone has a right to bring a legal claim for hospital or staff negligence, the only solution is to prevent the wrongdoing, in the first place. Nurses and physicians work on a perfectibility model, where their actions should be error-free. In reality, mistakes occur. A key to preventing them lies in the proper management of past errors. All mistakes happening at the individual level should face assessment from a systematic point of view and the individual’s conduct. The system of delivering care should be redesigned to reduce the chances of negligence (Jeannet, 2005).

My verdict, in this case, is that the nurse on duty has only the case of omission to answer. She acted in a standard way offering medication for nausea, which was following routine patient care. Since the case fails to elaborate on the exact physician details of the case, the hospital remains only liable for a suit for delayed care.


Nurses face legal risks for failing to offer proper care. However, the extent of care offered by nurses depends on the scope of practice allowed in their jurisdiction. In the case above, an error of omission by the nurse in charge and subsequent delay of response or a call bell opened the hospital to legal charges for negligence. The hospital and the nurse responsible would have a better defense if proper medical records were available.


Jeannet, M. (2005). Clinical negligence and patient compensation. Nursing Standard, 19(25), 35-39. Web.

Legal questions. (1999). Nursing, 29(4), 30. Web.

Pozgar, G. D. (2012). Legal Aspects of Health Care Administration. Sadbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Slovenko, R. (2005). Contributory fault of the patient in a malpractice action. Journal of Psychiatry & Law, 33(2), 291-307.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *