Theterms negligence, gross negligence, and malpractice are usuallymisconstrued when it comes to actual implementation of theirconsequences. In this paper, the descriptions, as well asdifferences, will be outlined. By assessing the article inconsideration, a rationale will also be provided to indicate whetherthe terms were contextually correct. Some professionals takeadvantage of their close definitions to avoid consequences in courts.
Accordingto Porat (2012), negligence can be described as nonconformity withthe standard of care that a sensible individual would use in certainsituations. He further affirms that the event emanates fromcarelessness. The description is echoed by Ashley (2003) whoconcludes that negligence occurs when an individual does or does notdo something that a sensible person would do. A rational person wouldundertake events that do not harm him/her or other people. Failure toact in a fair and competent manner thus leading to injuries amongother consequences is regarded as negligence. Gross negligence is farmuch worse than mere carelessness. It entails irresponsible behaviorthat tends to disregard other people’s safety. The person has apropensity of violating the right to safety of other people. It is,therefore, considered as serious carelessness. On the other hand,malpractice involves professional carelessness. In other words, it isthe failure of an expert such as a doctor, nurse among others toobserve the professional standards required in their field. Inabilityto foresee repercussions yet one has the appropriate education andskills is regarded as an element of malpractice. It results fromomission or negligence of a person needing care. Others refer to itas professional negligence. The three aspects possess differentmeanings depending on where they are applied. Negligence varies fromgross negligence due to the degree of carelessness. In grossnegligence, an individual consciously infringes and disdains thesafety of another person far below the required standards of care.Negligence and malpractice defer on the grounds of professionalism.Malpractices are negligent events propagated by professionals (Porat,2012).
Inthe Nursing Neighborhood Season 3, Episode 7, the newspaper had anarticle about Joseph Benson, a 62-year-old man who was diabetic.Having suffered from poor circulation for more than five years, heunderwent an amputation of his leg just below the left knee. But onwaking up, he realized the team performed the amputation on the wrongleg. Perplexed by the ordeal, the patient thought he was dreaming.The staff at Neighborhood Hospital had no comments. They indicatedthat they were in dire times with issues such as nursing shortages,union problems, and complaints of poor treatment among others. Thetitle “Negligence Cited in Amputation Mishap” does not entirelyreflect on the events that transpired. After going through thedescriptions of malpractice, negligence, and gross negligence, Iwould not settle for such a title. The title depicts a simpleundertaking. In other words, it portrays the event as just purenegligence or rather carelessness. However, the event occurred withinthe healthcare facility and was conducted by well-educatedprofessionals. It was a non-reasonable undertaking within thefacility. The fact that experts were involved qualifies it to be aprofessional malpractice. I would not title this article in such asimple manner. Actually, I would categorize it as a gross malpracticeif appropriate since amputating the wrong leg goes way below therequired standards of care. A doctor or nurse has a lot of knowledgeto ascertain which leg should be amputated. By incorrectly performingthe operation, the professionals showed serious carelessness withintheir occupation. Apart from that, the hospital did not admit theirmistake and only indulged in excuses. The fact that no one came outto explain the event shows total negligence of the facility. Itotally disagree with this act. In addition to that, the hospitalonly came out to express their challenges e.g. shortage of nurses.They also revealed people were complaining about poor treatment. Inthat regard, it seems the hospital has numerous issues since otherpatients were complaining. It does not portray a good image whenhealth practitioners admit to poorly treating people. It meanspatients have been forced to receive care that is way below therequired standards. It also suggests that maybe more patients havebeen given wrong treatment. It is not acceptable. Considering theiractions are a matter of life and death, laxity cannot be tolerated.The hospital fails in all aspects of care.
“Ifit is not documented in the medical records then it did not happen.”Such sentiments are utilized by plaintiff’s in the courts to evadeconsequences. Documentation is an important thing in healthcarefacilities not only for the patient’s purpose but alsopractitioners. Apart from just documenting, the information should becomplete, concise, and accurate. The records should provide accuratedescriptions of all the patients. They help in assessment andtreatment, clinical handover, education, evaluation, funding,medico-legal, research, continuity of care, and quality improvement(Joseph S., 2016).
Fromthe above case, the medical staff failed to undertake their dutiesdiligently. Documentation is a fundamental responsibility that helpsavoid mistakes. By not recording, the hospital neglected to performtheir professional duty. If the doctors had the document establishingwhich extremity to amputate, then performing on the wrong one couldhave been prevented. Sometimes the physicians who prescribemedication or treatment are not the same one’s conducting theactual procedure. It does not make sense to amputate a wrong legusing accurate documents of the patient. The report could also assistin legal issues. If there were laxity in one of the staff, then therecords would ascertain. Therefore, a document could have providedthe doctors with appropriate information on which leg to amputate andassist in making legal follow-ups.
Asillustrated earlier, documentation is beneficial for many purposes.An ethically sound nurse would provide the actual happenings. Everyprofessional should be accountable for his/her actions. Thefundamental principles that would guide me if I were to be in thissituation are non-maleficence, justice, and fidelity. By beingnon-maleficence, I would like to remain competent in my field toprevent patient injuries. I would also ensure all activities that arecontrary to the professional healthcare standards are reported.Justice involves treating each patient with fairness. Allocating timeto spend with each patient is a major concern in many healthcarefacilities. However, as a nurse, I would ensure that all the patientsreceive equal amounts of time. Fidelity ensures I remain loyal to mycourse, show dedication in my duties and most importantly care. Theabove principles can be replicated in the above situation. Showingcare to Joseph would also mean I champion justice. There is nofairness without justice, and that is exactly how my practice wouldbe guided. As a nurse, I am also supposed to be responsible fordisseminating care to the patients. Now that the event has alreadyhappened, I need to convince the patient to acclimatize with the newcondition. Since it is not reversible, the patient must learn to livewith the idea of not having both legs (Butts, 2010).
Documentationfor legal and ethical requirements
Inthe literature, one of the obligation is the patient-healthcarepractitioner relationship. In this case, I would record thehappenings before the operation. For instance, the disease Joseph issuffering from, how long it has been affecting him and recommendedprescriptions. The general history of the patient will be importantto satisfy legal and ethical requirements. Relaying the patient’shistory illustrates the relationship he had with the hospital. It isalso vehement to show all the events that transpired on that day. Forinstance, what time the patient was supposed to undergo amputation,the staff involved, availability of equipment and the leg to beamputated. In addition to that, which leg was amputated? Anothervital aspect to consider is the level of expertise of the peopleinvolved. In other words, the document should provide answers to whocarried out the operation? What are their professional levels? How istheir track record? The report must provide answers to how themalpractice happened.
Thedocument will have all the details pertaining to the patient and whyit was deemed necessary to undergo amputation. On that very day, thestaff involved in performing the amputation must have followedcertain guidelines to establish the leg to be ejected. All thepersons involved would, therefore, provide their statements. Thedocument will also contain the actual injury caused to the patient.
Butts, J. (2010). Professional Codes of Ethics in Nursing. Jones and Barlett.
Joseph S., a. R. (2016, March). Medical Malpractice Reform – Historical Approaches, Alternative Models, and Communication and Resolution Programs. AMA Journal of Ethics, 299-310.
Porat, A. (2012). Negligence Liability for Non-Negligent Behavior. 1-29.