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Negligence Paper

Essay by   •  September 25, 2011  •  Case Study  •  1,180 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,564 Views

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Negligence Paper

The definition of negligence varies from state to state. The Fershtman (2010) website claims negligence is when someone fails to do something that a reasonable person of ordinary good sense would do in a certain situation or the doing of something that such a person would not do. Simply put negligence is carelessness. A nurse or doctor may be considered negligent if harm to a patient results from an act or failure to act, but this act must be proven that other members of the same profession would have acted differently in the same situation. There are many types of negligence. Negligence can be misfeasance, which is an act that is performed improperly, malfeasance, which is the wrong doing or misconduct typically by a public official, or nonfeasance, which is failure to perform an act required by law (Multiply, 2011). In order for an individual to be guilty of negligence there are four elements that must be present. These elements are duty, damages, direct cause, and dereliction. Duty because a duty of care was owed to the accuser, damages because there are identifiable injuries, direct cause because the injuries are a direct cause of breach of duty, and dereliction because the health care provider breached the duty of care (Judson & Harrison, 2010).

The term gross negligence is the reckless provision of health care that is clearly below the standards of accepted medical practice that is deemed obvious to layman without any medical training (Thompsons Reuters Business, 2011). This type of negligence is without regard for the consequences of life or property as well as the disregard of the rights and wellbeing of those for whom the act is being performed.

In the medical profession the terms malpractice and negligence are often used as synonyms. According to Weld and Garmon there is a big difference between these terms negligence is the "failure to use such care as a reasonably prudent and careful person would use under similar circumstances" and in contrast malpractice is "lack of skill" (Weld & Garmon, 2009, p. 3).

The article "Amputation mishap, negligence cited" tells about Joseph Benson, a 62-year-old man who was scheduled to have a leg removed because of diabetes. His surgery would have been considered a success if the medical team had removed the correct leg. My opinion is that this act of removing the wrong leg constitutes gross negligence. Gross negligence by definition says that any individual without medical training could easily determine that this was not only a mistake, but clearly below any and all standards. This is not considered malpractice as the medical team had the skill to perform the surgery and successfully did just on the wrong leg.

Documentation is the key because if it is not written down there is no history of an act being done. In the case of Joseph Benson there should have been clear records of the leg that suffered from the circulation issues. In addition, there should have been additional documentation about the recommendation to remove the leg below the knee. Obviously there was some form of documentation as the patient was scheduled for surgery and for the correct type of procedure. The potential for negligence increases when there is a breakdown in the following of policies and procedures such as documentation. If this case would have been documented properly and the standards of practice were followed, Mr. Benson would not have suffered the amputation of a healthy limb.

According to Guido "Standards of care are generally defined as the level or degree of quality considered adequate by a given profession" (Guido, 2010, p. 74). These standards are a guide to knowledge and the skills needed to perform a task. These standards are set by an internal or an external source. An example of an internal source would be the facility's policies and procedures, an example of an external source would be standards set

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