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Medical Malpractice Or Simple Negligence?

By Expert Author: R. Klettke

A medical malpractice lawyer needs to decide if he will accept a possible legal case. The potential lawsuit presented to him for consideration is as follows: A patient sustained a broken limb while hospitalized, through no fault of his own. Is the situation a case of actual medical malpractice, or just a case of simple negligence? The details of the case as well as the medical malpractice attorney's decision are included below. See if you agree with his decision.

A senior age male had been hospitalized and in bed for two days following a moderately serious surgery. All of the patient’s vital signs were recently stable. The patient had just begun to eat semi solid food but had complained of mild transient nausea after eating. The treating physician had written orders for the patient to be ambulated on the third day. This was considered to be crucial for several reasons: to prevent blood clots in the legs and lungs, to prevent pneumonia, muscle weakness, and bedsores. This type of ambulation is considered to be within the standard of care.

On the third day, nursing staff attempted to assist the patient with standing up to walk, however, the patient stated that he was dizzy and nauseous, so the first attempt was aborted, the MD was notified and a second attempt was rescheduled. Later that day, the staff returned for another attempt at ambulation. The patient denied any dizziness or nausea so the nurse proceeded to assist the patient in waking. The patient subsequently fell and broke his ankle. The patient and his family filed a lawsuit with a personal injury attorney who specialized in medical malpractice, claiming simple negligence against the nurse.

After reviewing the facts in the case, the medical malpractice attorney decided

that this case would fall under the legal category of medical malpractice, not the category of “simple negligence.” The reasons for his classification are as follows:

The patient’s hospital chart documentation was legible, and detailed. It clearly demonstrated that the decision to get the patient up to walk was correct and safe and well within the standard of care. In order for medical negligence to be proven, there would have to be proof showing that the nurse’s actions were negligent and a direct cause of the injury.

R. Klettke is a freelance writer. He writes about personal injury and medical malpractice law and other matters of jurisprudence.

Note: This article is not intended to provide legal advice upon which you should rely in making any decisions regarding the instituting or prosecuting of a legal claim. Laws and rules relating to the bringing of a claim vary widely from state to state. You should always contact a personal injury attorney to obtain information as to the rules and the laws pertaining to any claim you might have.

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