Amputation Mishap

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 220
  • Published : March 23, 2013
Open Document
Text Preview
Amputation Mishap

The Neighborhood News reports of a medical error at The Neighborhood Hospital. The report states a 62 year-old male patient underwent surgery to have his leg amputated only to discover the wrong leg was amputated during surgery. The newspaper article states the mishap is negligence. In the following paragraphs, negligence, gross negligence, and malpractice are discussed and determine if the newspaper’s statement of negligence is correct. Ethical principles in nursing and nursing documentation regarding such issues are also discussed. Negligence and malpractice fall under the tort laws definition. According to Guido (2010), “Torts are civil wrongs, not based on contracts, but on personal transgressions in that the responsible person performed an action incorrectly or omitted a necessary action” (p. 92). Tort laws are based on fault and in a health-care setting, tort laws are the most common. To determine if the above scenario results in negligence, gross negligence, or medical malpractice, one must understand the definition of each. According to Guido (2010), negligence is a general term and “equates with carelessness, a deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would use in a particular set of circumstances” (p. 92). According to Judson and Harrison (2006), four key elements (four D’s), must be present to prove negligence (p. 101): 1. Duty: The person charged has a duty to provide care to the patient. Neighborhood Hospital and staff have a duty to provide a standard of care that a reasonable person would use in a particular set of circumstances. 2.Dereliction: The person charged breaches the duty of care to the patient. The operating room team failed to identify the correct leg for amputation prior to proceeding with the operation; therefore a breach of duty has occurred. 3.Direct cause: The breach of duty is a direct cause of injury to the patient. The wrong leg is amputated as a direct result of failure to identify the correct leg for amputation. As a direct result, the patient will become a double amputee once the correct leg is amputated. 4.Damages: A recognizable injury to the patient is present. In this case, the wrong leg was amputated deeming a recognizable injury. Using the above criteria, negligence is present in this case scenario. Gross negligence occurs when medical practitioners perform an intentional act regardless of the negative, anticipated consequences. In this scenario, the patient must prove the medical staff at Neighborhood Hospital intentionally amputated the wrong leg. The medical staff at Neighborhood Hospital did not intentionally amputate the wrong leg, therefore ruling out gross negligence. According to Guido (2010), medical malpractice is “the failure of a professional person to act in accordance with the prevailing professional standards or failure to foresee consequences that a professional person, having the necessary skills and education, should foresee” (p. 93). Guido further states the difference between negligence and malpractice is licensure. If the act is by a non-professional person, it is negligence. If the act is by a professional person, it is malpractice. Six elements must be present to prove malpractice (Guido, 2010, p. 93): 1. Duty owed to the patient

Neighborhood Hospital and staff have a duty to provide a standard of care that a reasonable person would use in a particular set of circumstances. 2.Breach of the duty owed to the patient.

The operating room team failed to identify the correct leg for amputation prior to proceeding with the operation; therefore a breach of duty has occurred. 3.Foreseeability.
The omission of identifying the correct leg for amputation prior to surgery. 4.Causation: breach of duty owed caused injury.
The wrong leg is amputated as a direct result of failure to identify the correct leg for amputation. As a direct result, the patient...
tracking img