© 2007 The Medical-Legal News
The nursing law publication Legal Eagle Eye Newsletter reported three incidents in its July issue that all underscored the perils of poor communications and subsequent legal fallout:
• In a Pennsylvania case a nurse practitioner failed to advise a patient that he needed to be on cholesterol-and blood pressure-lowering medicines, in violation of the nurse’s supervising doctor’s guidelines. After the death of the patient, which was linked by a jury to a failure to medicate, the plaintiff’s widow won $5.1 million.
• In a second case a teenager was injured in a sporting event and had testicular torsion. At the emergency room the youth’s family was advised to go on to a teaching hospital that was better equipped to do a needed ultrasound. A promised message of urgency from hospital No. 1 to hospital No. 2 never arrived, so the boy was treated as non-emergent at hospital No. 2 and encountered delays. He lost the testicle.
• In a third case a man with severed fingers was seen by a triage nurse at an ER, by a resident and then by an ER doctor. While an emergency consult with an orthopedist was ordered right away, the orthopedist was never called. By the time the orthopedist arrived it was too late to reattach the fingers. The man was awarded $525,000.
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