Nursing Negligence: Analyzing Malpractice in the Hospital Setting

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Janet Pitts Beckmann

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  • Dedication

    For George with love, respect, and gratitude

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    Tables

    • Table 1.1 Selected Causes of Death in the United States, 1991 5
    • Table 3.1 Nursing Malpractice Adverse Outcomes and Associated Departures From the Standard of Care 22
    • Table 3.2 Fetal/Newborn Nursing Malpractice Adverse Outcomes and Associated Departures From the Standard of Care 22
    • Table 3.3 Patient Adverse Outcomes Due to Nursing Malpractice and Associated Departures From the Standard of Care 23
    • Table 3.4 Injury and Death Due to Nursing Malpractice, by Clinical Setting 23
    • Table 3.5 Age of Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome 25
    • Table 3.6 Age of Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome, by Clinical Setting 25
    • Table 3.7 Age of Patients Experiencing the Adverse Outcome of Death or Injury, by Clinical Setting 25
    • Table 3.8 Age Distribution of Database Population Experiencing an Adverse Outcome of Nursing Care (N = 747) 26
    • Table 3.9 Age Distribution of Database Population Experiencing Death as an Adverse Outcome of Nursing Care (N = 219) 26
    • Table 3.10 Age Distribution of Database Population Experiencing Injury as an Adverse Outcome of Nursing Care (N = 528) 26
    • Table 3.11 Sex of Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome 28
    • Table 3.12 Sex of Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome, by Clinical Setting 28
    • Table 3.13 Sex of Patients Experiencing Injury or Death as an Adverse Outcome, by Clinical Setting 28
    • Table 3.14 Diagnoses/Presenting Problems of Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome 29
    • Table 3.15 Diagnoses/Presenting Problems of Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome, by Clinical Setting 30
    • Table 3.16 Type of Adverse Outcome Caused by Nursing Malpractice (N = 747) 31
    • Table 3.17 Type of Adverse Outcome Due to Nursing Negligence, by Clinical Setting 32
    • Table 3.18 Frequency of Nursing Care Problems and Associated Departures From the Standard of Care 34
    • Table 3.19 Nursing Care Problem Areas and Frequency of Departures From the Standard of Care, by Clinical Setting 35
    • Table 3.20 Mechanisms of Injury Responsible for Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcomes 36
    • Table 3.21 Mechanisms of Injury Responsible for Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcomes, by Clinical Setting 38–39
    • Table 3.22 Malpractice Payments Involving Communication Negligence, by Clinical Setting 41
    • Table 3.23 Malpractice Payments Involving Medication Administration Negligence, by Clinical Setting 41
    • Table 3.24 Malpractice Payments Involving Nursing Intervention Negligence, by Clinical Setting 43
    • Table 3.25 Malpractice Payments Involving Nursing Assessment Negligence, by Clinical Setting 43
    • Table 3.26 Malpractice Payments Involving Environmental Safety Negligence, by Clinical Setting 45
    • Table 3.27 Malpractice Payments for Nursing Negligence in Relation to Inadequate Care by the Physician, by Clinical Setting 47
    • Table 3.28 Malpractice Payments Involving Equipment and Product Negligence, by Clinical Setting 47
    • Table 3.29 Malpractice Payments Involving Nosocomial Infection, by Clinical Setting 49
    • Table 3.30 Malpractice Payments, by Death and Injury 49
    • Table 3.31 Malpractice Payments, by Nursing Care Problem Area 51
    • Table 3.32 Malpractice Payments for Patient Injuries, by Clinical Setting 51
    • Table 3.33 Malpractice Payments for Patient Deaths, by Clinical Setting 51
    • Table 3.34 Malpractice Payments for Fetal/Newborn Injuries, by Clinical Setting 52
    • Table 3.35 Malpractice Payments for Fetal/Newborn Deaths, byClinical Setting 52
    • Table 3.36 Distribution of Payments for All Adverse Outcomes of Nursing Care (N = 747) 53
    • Table 3.37 Distribution of Payments for Injury as an Adverse Outcome of Nursing Care (N = 528) 53
    • Table 3.38 Distribution of Payments for Death as an Adverse Outcome of Nursing Care (N = 219) 54
    • Table 3.39 Malpractice Payments for All Deaths and Injuries, by Clinical Setting 54
    • Table 4.1 Nursing Malpractice Adverse Outcomes and Associated Departures From the Standard of Care in the Emergency Department 57
    • Table 4.2 Age of Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Emergency Department 58
    • Table 4.3 Sex of Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Emergency Department 61
    • Table 4.4 Diagnoses/Presenting Problems of PatientsExperiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Emergency Department 61
    • Table 4.5 Type of Adverse Outcome Caused by Nursing Malpractice in the Emergency Department (N = 70) 63
    • Table 4.6 Nursing Care Problems and Associated Departures From the Standard of Care in the Emergency Department 63
    • Table 4.7 Mechanisms of Injury Responsible for Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcomes in the Emergency Department 64
    • Table 4.8 Malpractice Payments in the Emergency Department, by Adverse Outcome 73
    • Table 4.9 Malpractice Payments in the Emergency Department, by Nursing Care Problem 73
    • Table 5.1 Nursing Malpractice Adverse Outcomes and Associated Departures From the Standard of Care in the Psychiatric Setting 79
    • Table 5.2 Age of Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Psychiatric Setting 79
    • Table 5.3 Sex of Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Psychiatric Setting 83
    • Table 5.4 Presenting Problems of Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Psychiatric Setting 83
    • Table 5.5 Type of Adverse Outcome Caused by Nursing Malpractice in the Psychiatric Setting (N = 35) 83
    • Table 5.6 Nursing Care Problems and Associated Departures From the Standard of Care in the Psychiatric Setting 84
    • Table 5.7 Mechanisms of Injury Responsible for Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcomes in the Psychiatric Setting 84
    • Table 5.8 Malpractice Payments in the Psychiatric Setting, by Adverse Outcome 91
    • Table 5.9 Malpractice Payments in the Psychiatric Setting, by Nursing Care Problem 91
    • Table 6.1 Nursing Malpractice Adverse Outcomes and Associated Departures From the Standard of Care in the Medical Setting 97
    • Table 6.2 Age of Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Medical Setting 97
    • Table 6.3 Sex of Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Medical Setting 100
    • Table 6.4 Diagnoses/Presenting Problems of Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Medical Setting 100
    • Table 6.5 Type of Adverse Outcome Caused by Nursing Malpractice in the Medical Setting (N = 148) 101
    • Table 6.6 Nursing Care Problems and Associated Departures From the Standard of Care in the Medical Setting 102
    • Table 6.7 Mechanisms of Injury Responsible for Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcomes in the Medical Setting 103
    • Table 6.8 Malpractice Payments in the Medical Setting, by Adverse Outcome 114
    • Table 6.9 Malpractice Payments in the Medical Setting, by Nursing Care Problem 114
    • Table 7.1 Nursing Malpractice Adverse Outcomes and Associated Departures From the Standard of Care in the Operating Room 121
    • Table 7.2 Age of Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Operating Room 121
    • Table 7.3 Sex of Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Operating Room 124
    • Table 7.4 Types of Surgery/Presenting Problems of Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Operating Room 124
    • Table 7.5 Type of Adverse Outcome Caused by Nursing Malpractice in the Operating Room 125
    • Table 7.6 Nursing Care Problems and Associated Departures From the Standard of Care in the Operating Room 126
    • Table 7.7 Mechanisms of Injury Responsible for Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcomes in the Operating Room 127
    • Table 7.8 Malpractice Payments in the Operating Room, by Adverse Outcome 134
    • Table 7.9 Malpractice Payments in the Operating Room, by Nursing Care Problem 134
    • Table 8.1 Nursing Malpractice Adverse Outcomes and Associated Departures From the Standard of Care in the Recovery Room 141
    • Table 8.2 Age of Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Recovery Room 141
    • Table 8.3 Sex of Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Recovery Room 143
    • Table 8.4 Types of Surgery/Presenting Problems of Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Recovery Room 144
    • Table 8.5 Type of Adverse Outcome Caused by Nursing Malpractice in the Recovery Room (N = 41) 144
    • Table 8.6 Nursing Care Problems and Associated Departures From the Standard of Care in the Recovery Room 145
    • Table 8.7 Mechanisms of Injury Responsible for Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcomes in the Recovery Room 145
    • Table 8.8 Malpractice Payments in the Recovery Room, by Adverse Outcome 152
    • Table 8.9 Malpractice Payments in the Recovery Room, by Nursing Care Problem 152
    • Table 9.1 Nursing Malpractice Adverse Outcomes and Associated Departures From the Standard of Care in the Surgical Setting 159
    • Table 9.2 Age of Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Surgical Setting 160
    • Table 9.3 Sex of Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Surgical Setting 163
    • Table 9.4 Types of Surgery/Presenting Problems of Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Surgical Setting 163
    • Table 9.5 Type of Adverse Outcome Caused by Nursing Malpractice in the Surgical Setting (N = 155) 164
    • Table 9.6 Nursing Care Problems and Associated Departures From the Standard of Care in the Surgical Setting 164
    • Table 9.7 Mechanisms of Injury Responsible for Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcomes in the Surgical Setting 165
    • Table 9.8 Malpractice Payments in the Surgical Setting, by Adverse Outcome 177
    • Table 9.9 Malpractice Payments in the Surgical Setting, by Nursing Care Problem 177
    • Table 10.1 Nursing Malpractice Adverse Outcomes and Associated Departures From the Standard of Care in the Pediatric Setting 183
    • Table 10.2 Age of Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Pediatric Setting 183
    • Table 10.3 Sex of Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Pediatric Setting 186
    • Table 10.4 Diagnoses/Presenting Problems of Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Pediatric Setting 187
    • Table 10.5 Type of Adverse Outcome Caused by Nursing Malpractice in the Pediatric Setting (N = 53) 187
    • Table 10.6 Nursing Care Problems and Associated Departures From the Standard of Care in the Pediatric Setting 189
    • Table 10.7 Mechanisms of Injury Responsible for Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcomes in the Pediatric Setting 189
    • Table 10.8 Malpractice Payments in the Pediatric Setting, by Adverse Outcome 197
    • Table 10.9 Malpractice Payments in the Pediatric Setting, by Nursing Care Problem (N = 53) 197
    • Table 11.1 Nursing Malpractice Adverse Outcomes and Associated Departures From the Standard of Care in the Labor Room 204
    • Table 11.2 Age of Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Labor Room 204
    • Table 11.3 Diagnoses/Presenting Problems of Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Labor Room 207
    • Table 11.4 Type of Adverse Outcome Caused by Nursing Malpractice in the Labor Room (N = 128) 207
    • Table 11.5 Nursing Care Problems and Associated Departures From the Standard of Care in the Labor Room 207
    • Table 11.6 Mechanisms of Injury Responsible for Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcomes in the Labor Room 208
    • Table 11.7 Malpractice Payments in the Labor Room, by Adverse Outcome 216
    • Table 11.8 Malpractice Payments in the Labor Room, by Nursing Care Problem Area 216
    • Table 12.1 Nursing Malpractice Adverse Outcomes and Associated Departures From the Standard of Care in the Delivery Room 223
    • Table 12.2 Age of Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Delivery Room 223
    • Table 12.3 Diagnoses/Presenting Problems of Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Delivery Room 225
    • Table 12.4 Type of Adverse Outcome Caused by Nursing Malpractice in the Delivery Room (N = 21) 225
    • Table 12.5 Nursing Care Problems and Associated Departures From the Standard of Care in the Delivery Room 225
    • Table 12.6 Mechanisms of Injury Responsible for Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcomes in the Delivery Room 226
    • Table 12.7 Malpractice Payments in the Delivery Room, by Adverse Outcome 232
    • Table 12.8 Malpractice Payments in the Delivery Room, by Nursing Care Problem 232
    • Table 13.1 Nursing Malpractice Adverse Outcomes and Associated Departures From the Standard of Care in the Newborn Nursery 239
    • Table 13.2 Admitting Status of Infants Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome 239
    • Table 13.3 Type of Adverse Outcome Caused by Nursing Malpractice in the Newborn Nursery (N = 52) 240
    • Table 13.4 Nursing Care Problems and Associated Departures From the Standard of Care in the Newborn Nursery 240
    • Table 13.5 Mechanisms of Injury Responsible for Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcomes in the Newborn Nursery 241
    • Table 13.6 Malpractice Payments in the Newborn Nursery, by Adverse Outcome 249
    • Table 13.7 Malpractice Payments in the Newborn Nursery, by Nursing Care Problem 249

    Figures

    • Figure 4.1. Age Distribution of Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Emergency Department 59
    • Figure 4.2. Age Distribution of Patients Suffering Death as a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Emergency Department 59
    • Figure 4.3. Age Distribution of Patients Experiencing Injury as a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Emergency Department 60
    • Figure 4.4. Distribution of Payments to Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Emergency Department 74
    • Figure 4.5. Distribution of Payments to Patients Suffering Death as a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Emergency Department 75
    • Figure 4.6. Distribution of Payments to Patients Experiencing Injury as a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Emergency Department 76
    • Figure 5.1. Age Distribution of Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Psychiatric Setting 80
    • Figure 5.2. Age Distribution of Patients Suffering Death as a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Psychiatric Setting 81
    • Figure 5.3. Age Distribution of Patients Experiencing Injury as a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Psychiatric Setting 82
    • Figure 5.4. Distribution of Payments to Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Psychiatric Setting 92
    • Figure 5.5. Distribution of Payments to Patients Suffering Death as a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Psychiatric Setting 93
    • Figure 5.6. Distribution of Payments to Patients Experiencing Injury as a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Psychiatric Setting 94
    • Figure 6.1. Age Distribution of Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Medical Setting 98
    • Figure 6.2. Age Distribution of Patients Suffering Death as a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Medical Setting 99
    • Figure 6.3. Age Distribution of Patients Experiencing Injury as a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Medical Setting 99
    • Figure 6.4. Distribution of Payments to Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Medical Setting 115
    • Figure 6.5. Distribution of Payments to Patients Suffering Death as a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Medical Setting 116
    • Figure 6.6. Distribution of Payments to Patients Experiencing Injury as a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Medical Setting 118
    • Figure 7.1. Age Distribution of Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Operating Room 122
    • Figure 7.2. Age Distribution of Patients Suffering Death as a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Operating Room 123
    • Figure 7.3. Age Distribution of Patients Experiencing Injury as a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Operating Room 123
    • Figure 7.4. Distribution of Payments to Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Operating Room 135
    • Figure 7.5. Distribution of Payments to Patients Suffering Death as a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Operating Room 136
    • Figure 7.6. Distribution of Payments to Patients Experiencing Injury as a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Operating Room 137
    • Figure 8.1. Age Distribution of Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Recovery Room 142
    • Figure 8.2. Age Distribution of Patients Suffering Death as a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Recovery Room 142
    • Figure 8.3. Age Distribution of Patients Experiencing Injury as a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Recovery Room 143
    • Figure 8.4. Distribution of Payments to Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Recovery Room 153
    • Figure 8.5. Distribution of Payments to Patients Suffering Death as a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Recovery Room 155
    • Figure 8.6. Distribution of Payments to Patients Experiencing Injury as a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Recovery Room 156
    • Figure 9.1. Age Distribution of Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Surgical Setting 161
    • Figure 9.2. Age Distribution of Patients Suffering Death as a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Surgical Setting 162
    • Figure 9.3. Age Distribution of Patients Experiencing Injury as a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Surgical Setting 162
    • Figure 9.4. Distribution of Payments to Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Surgical Setting 178
    • Figure 9.5. Distribution of Payments to Patients Suffering Death as a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Surgical Setting 179
    • Figure 9.6. Distribution of Payments to Patients Experiencing Injury as a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Surgical Setting 180
    • Figure 10.1. Age Distribution of Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Pediatric Setting 184
    • Figure 10.2. Age Distribution of Patients Suffering Death as a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Pediatric Setting 185
    • Figure 10.3. Age Distribution of Patients Suffering Injury as a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Pediatric Setting 186
    • Figure 10.4. Distribution of Payments to Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Pediatric Setting 198
    • Figure 10.5. Distribution of Payments to Patients Suffering Death as a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Pediatric Setting 199
    • Figure 10.6. Distribution of Payments to Patients Experiencing Injury as a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Pediatric Setting 201
    • Figure 11.1. Distribution of Deaths and Injuries Caused by Negligent Nursing Care in the Labor Room 203
    • Figure 11.2. Age Distribution of Maternal Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Labor Room 205
    • Figure 11.3. Distribution of Payments to Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Labor Room 217
    • Figure 11.4. Distribution of Payments for Maternal and Fetal/Newborn Deaths Due to Negligent Nursing Care in the Labor Room 218
    • Figure 11.5. Distribution of Payments for Maternal and Fetal/Newborn Injuries Due to Negligent Nursing Care in the Labor Room 219
    • Figure 12.1. Distribution of Deaths and Injuries Due to Negligent Nursing Care in the Delivery Room 222
    • Figure 12.2. Age Distribution of Maternal Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Delivery Room 224
    • Figure 12.3. Distribution of Payments to Patients Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome in the Delivery Room 233
    • Figure 12.4. Distribution of Payments for Maternal and Fetal/Newborn Injuries Due to Negligent Nursing Care in the Delivery Room 234
    • Figure 13.1. Distribution of Payments in the Nursing Setting for Newborns Experiencing a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome 250
    • Figure 13.2. Distribution of Payments in the Nursery Setting for Newborns Suffering Death as a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome 251
    • Figure 13.3. Distribution of Payments in the Nursery Setting for Newborns Experiencing Injury as a Nursing-Care-Related Adverse Outcome 252
  • References

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    Danzon, P. M. (1985). Medical malpractice: Theory, evidence and public policy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
    Donahue v. Port (1993). 92-CIV-4477 (C.P. Lackawanna Co., Pennsylvannia.)
    Freeland, W. G. (1973). Report of the Secretary's Commission on Medical Malpractice. Washington, DC: U.S. Dept. of Health, Education, and Welfare.
    Harvard Medical Practice Study. (1990). Patients, doctors, and lawyers: Medical injury, malpractice litigation, and patient compensation in New York: The report of the Harvard Medical Practice Study to the state of New York. Cambridge, MA: Author.
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    About the Author

    Janet Pitts Beckmann is Affiliate Professor at the School of Nursing of the University of Washington, as well as an independent consultant. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Washington in higher education (college and university administration) and physiology biophysics, and an M.N. from Emory University in medicalsurgical nursing. Previously she has served as Dean and Associate Professor at the School of Nursing of the University of Alabama in Huntsville and as an Associate Dean and Associate Professor at the University of Miami School of Nursing. She has been a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Nursing Education and an accreditation visitor for the National League of Nursing. She authored the book Nursing Malpractice: Implications for Clinical Practice and Nursing Education (1995). The major portion of her career has been devoted to clinical practice and nursing education. For the past 15 years, she has served as a consultant to attorneys on nursing standards and has been a pioneer nursing expert witness and possesses a vast body of knowledge regarding nursing malpractice. It is her desire now to stimulate the nursing profession to face the reality of the need to maintain accepted nursing standards and to begin to address the problem of nursing negligence.


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