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Negligence in Healthcare- A Case Study

Patient's Admission and Condition


Due to nausea and some feelings encountering pain, Mr. Ard was admitted to the hospital. After Mr. Ard’s spouse noticed these actions, she demanded for some assistance. She repeatedly used the bell to alert someone for help but was unsuccessful. It was not until later that someone finally responded to the wife’s request and provided the patient with medication to assist him with his feelings of nausea and pain. The nurse failed to correctly monitor the condition of the patient following the administration of the medication. After some time, Mrs. Ard realized her husband was not breathing properly and again begin notifying personnel to assist her but there was no immediate response. It wasn’t until nearly an hour later that someone assisted Mrs. Ard and her barely breathing husband. The long wait with complications of breathing resulted in a code being called. Consequently, Mr. Ard passed away (Pozgar, 2012).

Why did things go wrong?

When it comes to the patient Mr. Ard, a number of things were not carried out properly from the beginning to the end of his visit. There was mismanagement and a lack of patient documentation as well as the assessment of the patient (Pozgar, 2012). The condition of the patient documented on file by the physician was merely disregarded by the staff. Anytime a patient is being seen by different staff members, it is imperative that every person touching the patient properly reviews every note on file regarding the patient to provide the best services for the patient. Being knowledgeable of the patient, allows the staff to generate the most effective plan to properly care for Mr. Ard. If the patient’s chart would have been accurately reviewed, it would easily be identifiable the level of care necessary and the patient’s level of risk.

According to Pozgar (2012), ignoring the call bell was another mishap during the patient’s visit. It is imperative the staff responds to all calls despite how severe or not the call may seem. A quicker response could have possibly increased the patient’s chance of survival. Policy and procedure mandates the staff to provide a full assessment on a patient’s condition regarding respiratory concerns and swallowing assessment. Neither of the requirements were fulfilled by the staff which could have possibly prevented issues with the patient.

What were the relevant legal issues?

When there is a negligence of patients, health care organizations can expect to encounter legal issues. Levels of care are expected in this field and can’t be taken lightly when dealing with the lives of patients. When mishandled, legal issues will present themselves in healthcare organizations. Ms. Florscheim failed to document any care provided to Mr. Ard. In the field of healthcare, documentation is a must. In this case, it is a lined-out detail of the care of Mr. Ard. When documentation is accurate, legible and easy to access, it eases and speeds the nurses’ process of providing effective quality care to patients (American Nurses Association, 2016). Documentation is mandatory as justification to defend organizations when legal issues may be brought against them for any reason. With the staff failing to document care provided to Mr. Ard, there’s no proof that care was provided although it may have been. She failed at documenting and reading notations already in the patient’s chart noted by other healthcare professionals. Ms. Florscheim has to be made aware that simple but significant errors such as this cannot be made.

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