Negligence: Medicine and Ethical Principles

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October, 2011

In this paper the subject to discuss is a newspaper article given in season three, episode seven of Pearson Health Science Neighborhood in the course materials section of University of Phoenix student Website. The article “Amputation mishap, negligence cited” is about the wrong leg amputation of 62-year-old Joseph Benson, a diabetic patient who suffered from poor circulation for five years. The hospital where he had surgery is experiencing nursing shortage and union problems (Pearson Health Science, 2011). The incidence of wrong leg amputation occurred as a result of negligence. This could have avoided by completing a pre procedural checklist, site marking, and time out and proper documentation of these steps. The ethical principles that would guide nursing practice in this situation are beneficence and nonmaleficence. Differences between negligence, gross, negligence, and malpractice “Negligence is described as failure to use such care as a reasonable prudent and careful person would use under similar circumstances” (Weld and Bibb, 2009, p. 3). Common examples of negligence are malnutrition, inadequate hydration, and physical injury occurred as a result of the nurse’s care or lack of care. Three main elements have to be proved in a nursing negligence case for a case to be valid. The three elements are; the nurse had a duty to perform, a breach in the standard of duty of care occurred, and a breach in the standard of care resulted in harm (Avery, 2009). Gross negligence is a more serious form of negligence. Negligence is seen as a person falling below the standard of care. Whereas gross negligence is seen as complete failure to show care and implies recklessness or a willful disregard for the safety of a human being. Restraining a patient with dementia, who is difficult to watch and control, all day and night causing fractures and bedsores is an example of gross negligence (Abraham, 2001). To prove...
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