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Medical Negligence

Posted on:12/2/2012
The nurse or facility has undertaken a professional/patient relationship and thereby agrees to render reasonable and prudent care.


The nurse or facility has undertaken a professional/patient relationship and thereby agrees to render reasonable and prudent care. Except for a few exceptions provided by statutes (e.g., the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, or some states' Good Samaritan statutes), neither nurses nor facilities have a duty to provide care to everyone who might seek or need their care.

 

Health care is a mutually contracted relationship. Both the provider and the recipient must agree to enter into a caregiving relationship. Nurses who agree to work for a facility also agree to care for the patients that the facility accepts. Once a nurse or facility enters a professional relationship with a patient, the nurse has a duty to provide the amount and the type of care that a reasonable and prudent nurse or facility would have provided. This is what is known as the legal standard of care. Most often the judgment as to what constitutes the legal standard of care must be informed by nurse-generated evidence.

 

The plaintiff must also prove breach. The defendant did not do what reasonable and prudent defendants would have done. The health care record and the testimony of material witnesses are key pieces of evidence in determining whether the nurse or facility complied with the legal standard of care. Material witnesses are those with first-hand knowledge of what happened at the time and include both the plaintiff and the defendants, as well as all other persons who may have been present.


  
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