Legal Risks of Nurses

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Analyze the case of Mrs. Ard on page 259 of Legal Aspects of the textbook. Answer the following questions:

  • What happened?
  • Why did things go wrong?
  • What were the relevant legal issues?
  • How could the event have been prevented?
  • What is your verdict?

Your paper must be three to five double-spaced pages (excluding title and reference pages) and formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center. Utilize a minimum of three scholarly and/or peer-reviewed sources that were published within the last five years. One may be the course textbook and two must be from one of the databases in the Ashford University Library. All sources must be documented in APA style, as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.


 

CHANCE OF SURVIVAL DIMINISHED

On the afternoon of May 20, the patient, Mr. Ard, began feeling nauseated. He was in pain and had shortness of breath. Although hiswife rang the call bell several times, it was not until sometime later that evening that someone responded and gave Ard medication forthe nausea. The nausea continued to worsen. Mrs. Ard then noticed that her husband was having difficulty breathing. He was reelingfrom side to side in bed. Believing that her husband was dying, she continued to call for help. She estimated that she rang the call bellfor 1.25 hours before anyone responded. A code was eventually called. Unfortunately, Mr. Ard did not survive the code. There was nodocumentation in the medical records for May 20, between 5:30 PM and 6:45 PM, that would indicate that any nurse or physicianchecked on Ard’s condition. This finding collaborated Mrs. Ard’s testimony regarding this time period.

A wrongful death action was brought against the hospital, and the district court granted judgment for Mrs. Ard. The hospital appealed.

Ms. Krebs, an expert in general nursing, stated that it should have been obvious to the nurses from the physicians’ progress notes thatthe patient was a high risk for aspiration. This problem was never addressed in the nurses’ care plan or in the nurses’ notes.

On May 20, Ard’s assigned nurse was Ms. Florscheim. Krebs stated that Florscheim did not perform a full assessment of the patient’srespiratory and lung status. There was nothing in the record indicating that she completed such an evaluation after he vomited. Krebsalso testified that a nurse did not conduct a swallowing assessment at any time. Although Florscheim testified that she checked on thepatient around 6:00 PM on May 20, there was no documentation in the medical record. Ms. Farris, an expert witness for the defense,testified on cross-examination that if a patient was in the type of distress described by Mrs. Ard and no nurse checked on him for 1.25hours, that would fall below the expected standard of care.1

WHAT IS YOUR VERDICT?


To Be a Nurse: Swedish Hospital, Seattle, Washington

•  Nursing is the honor and privilege of caring for the needs of individuals in their time of need. The responsibility is one of growth to developthe mind, soul, and physical well-being of oneself as well as the one cared for.

•  In memory of all those patients that have enriched my life and blessed me with their spirit of living—while they are dying.

•  There are many things I love about being an RN, but as a Recovery Room nurse, my favorite, by far, is being able to tell a groggy but anxiouspatient, “It was benign.”

•  Excellence is about who we are, what we believe in, what we do with everyday of our lives. And in some ways we are a sum total of thosewho have loved us and those who we have given ourselves to.

•  I have been with a number of people/patients when they die and have stood in awe. Nursing encompasses the sublime and the dreaded. Weare regularly expected to do the impossible. I feel honored to be in this profession.

•  To get well, I knew I had to accept the care and love that were given to me—when I did healing washed over me like water.

•  Through all of this I was never alone.

•  Thank you!

•  In the caring for one another, both are forever changed.

•  A friend takes your hand and touches your heart.

•  To all of you whose names were blurred by the pain and the drugs.

•  Don’t ever underestimate your role in getting patients back on their feet.

—Swedish Hospital, Seattle, Washington, Unknown Authors

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    • Analyze the case of Mrs. Ard on page 215 of Legal Aspects of the textbook. The case states On the afternoon of May 20, the patient, Mr. Ard, began feeling nauseous. He was in pain and had shortness …

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