Medical malpractice

Medical Malpractice Claims Against Nurse Practitioners

December 31, 2019 by Carrie Capouellez

When an instance of medical malpractice occurs, it can be incredibly devastating. Medical malpractice can occur when a healthcare professional or provider neglects to provide appropriate treatment, omits taking appropriate action, or gives substandard treatment to a patient. Though malpractice claims are often reported against doctors and physicians, nurse practitioners are another type of healthcare provider that can be at fault when medical malpractice occurs.

According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, there are more than 234,000 licensed nurse practitioners in the U.S. It has been estimated that by 2025, nurse practitioners will make up one-third of the family practice workforce.

The Liability of Nurse Practitioners

A recent study showed medical malpractice lawsuits against nurse practitioners differ little to not at all from claims made against primary care physicians. The study was based on nearly 1,500 claims filed from January 2011 through December 2016 against both nurse practitioners and doctors and found the liability risks were about the same for both groups.

Malpractice claims against nurse practitioners are often linked to clinical and administration factors, including failing to adhere to the scope of their practice, inadequate physician supervision, and an absence of or deviation from written protocols.

A separate study from the Nurses Service Organization (NSO) reviewed 287 closed professional liability claims from 2012 through 2016. This study found one of the most common medical malpractice claims against nurse practitioners was the improper prescribing and management of controlled drugs. Prescription errors are unfortunately fairly common and can yield malpractice claims if a practitioner prescribes medications that interact dangerously, prescribes the wrong medication, and/or over- or under-prescribes necessary medications.

Though some incidents can be difficult to prevent, preventative measures can and should still be taken. Just like doctors and other physicians, nurse practitioners are expected to remain diligent and responsible for each and every screening, monitoring, treatment, and testing with which they are involved. When this doesn’t happen, the patient can suffer as a result of negligent care.

Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Attorneys

Though we hope to receive the best care available when we have a medical need, the unexpected can happen at any moment. Both doctors and nurse practitioners should provide their patients with the care they need. Unfortunately, when a medical professional neglects to take the appropriate steps to ensure patient safety, a patient can pay with their health. If you or a loved one has suffered a physical injury due to the actions or inaction of a negligent doctor or nurse practitioner, contact the medical malpractice attorneys at Lopez McHugh for a free consultation.

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