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Nurses facing more medical malpractice lawsuits

When people in New York think of medical malpractice, their first thought may be of doctors, especially surgeons. While the media may emphasize the frequency of physicians, plastic surgeons and anesthesiologists who are accused of errors and oversights that cause injury to their patients, another group of medical professionals is also at risk of such claims. The number of nurses accused of medical malpractice is climbing.

More doctors than nurses face malpractice lawsuits. However, this does not mean nurses should not be concerned. In the past eight years, malpractice insurance payouts for nurses have increased 30 percent, and those patients receiving settlements of more than $500,000 increased from 8 percent to 18 percent. The highest payouts went to patients who claimed to be victims of malpractice at the hands of emergency room nurses and nurses working in neonatal units and women's health practices.

Over half of nursing malpractice claims were directed at nurses in primary care offices, nursing home facilities and family practices, not hospitals. While treatment, medication and diagnosis ranked high as reasons for filing malpractice lawsuits, the most common reason by far was inadequate monitoring of a patient. This alone accounted for over $4 million in malpractice settlements.

The job of nurses is challenging and often thankless. When a patient adds a medical malpractice lawsuit to the frustration of the work, a nurse may wonder where to turn for assistance. Hardworking medical professionals do not have to face such legal issues alone. The advice and advocacy of a New York attorney may prove invaluable to a nurse's future.

Source: medpagetoday.com, "By the Numbers: Malpractice Hits Nurses, Too", Matt Wynn, Nov. 17, 2017

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