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Holding Nurses Accountable for Negligence in Ohio: A Guide for Patients

We all place a tremendous amount of trust in the medical professionals who care for us.  Nurses are the backbone of the healthcare system, providing critical care and monitoring patients around the clock.  However, even the most dedicated professionals can make mistakes, and when these mistakes fall below the expected standard of care, the consequences can be catastrophic.

Imagine this: You enter the hospital for a routine procedure, expecting a smooth recovery.  But something goes wrong.  Perhaps you experience a medication error, a missed symptom, or inadequate wound care.  Suddenly, your recovery takes a turn for the worse, leaving you with additional pain, suffering, and a mountain of medical bills. In severe cases, medical negligence can lead to the wrongful death of a loved one. In this situation, you may be wondering:  Who is accountable?  What action steps can I take?

Holding Nurses Accountable for Negligence in Ohio: A Guide for Patients

The good news is, in Ohio, patients have legal options to hold nurses accountable for negligence that results in harm. This blog post will serve as a guide, navigating the complexities of medical malpractice claims involving nurses and empowering you to take action if you or a loved one have fallen victim.

Understanding Nursing Malpractice

Nursing malpractice goes beyond simple mistakes. It occurs when a nurse’s negligence deviates from the accepted standard of care, directly causing harm to a patient. Meaning, in order for a lawsuit to be filed, you would have to experience a physical injury. If it “could have” resulted in an injury, you likely do not have a strong case.

This standard is established by what a reasonably prudent and competent nurse would do in a similar situation, taking into account the patient’s specific condition, medical history, and treatment plan. Here’s a breakdown of some key elements:

  • Breach of Duty: The nurse owed a duty to provide a certain level of care based on their training and licensure.
  • Deviation from Standard: The nurse’s actions or inactions fell below the expected standard of care for the situation.
  • Causation: The nurse’s negligence directly caused the patient’s injury or worsening condition.
  • Damages: The patient suffered harm, such as physical injury, emotional distress, or financial loss due to the negligence.

Common Nursing Malpractice Causes

While the specifics can vary, here are some common causes in nursing malpractice cases:

  • Medication & Prescription Errors: This can encompass administering the wrong medication, dosage, or at the incorrect frequency.
  • Failure to Monitor: Nurses have a responsibility to closely monitor patients for changes in condition, signs of infection, or potential complications. Missing critical signs can have serious consequences.
  • Improper Wound Care: Neglecting proper wound cleaning, dressing changes, or failing to recognize signs of infection can lead to delayed healing or serious complications.
  • Communication Lapses: Inadequate communication between nurses, doctors, and other healthcare providers can lead to missed diagnoses, medication errors, or improper treatment plans.

It’s important to note that not all negative patient outcomes constitute malpractice. However, if a nurse’s actions or inactions significantly deviate from the standard of care and cause harm, you may have a claim for compensation.

Steps to Take if You Believe You've Experienced Nursing Malpractice

If you believe you’ve experienced nursing malpractice, your next steps are very important. If you intend to hold the medical providers accountable, documenting the entire incident is critically important. Without good evidence, your claim becomes tougher to prove.

  1. Seek Medical Attention: Your health is the top priority. Ensure you receive proper and competent medical care to address any injuries caused by the negligence.
  2. Gather Evidence: Document everything you can remember about the incident. This includes dates, times, details of the care provided, any witnesses present, and collect medical records related to the incident. If you can, document your injuries with photographs.
  3. Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney: An experienced attorney can evaluate your case, determine if negligence occurred, and advise you on the best course of action. Medical malpractice cases are tough to prove, and an attorney can guide you through the legal process.
Steps to Take if You Believe You've Experienced Nursing Malpractice

Legal Options in Ohio

In Ohio, you may have two main avenues for holding a nurse accountable:

  1. Filing a Lawsuit: This can be a lengthy process, but it may be necessary to recover compensation for your injuries, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
  2. Filing a Complaint with the Ohio Board of Nursing: This can result in disciplinary action against the nurse, such as license suspension or revocation.

Statute of Limitations in Ohio Medical Malpractice Claims

Time is of the essence in medical malpractice claims, especially those involving nurses. Ohio law imposes a strict statute of limitations, which dictates a specific timeframe within which you must file a lawsuit. 

Generally, this window is one year from the date you discovered your injury or the date when a reasonable person should have discovered it, whichever is later. There are some exceptions, but missing this deadline can permanently bar you from seeking compensation. An attorney can advise you on the specific details of your case and ensure you meet all necessary deadlines.

The Importance of an Ohio Medical Malpractice Attorney

The road to holding a nurse accountable for negligence can be a complex and unfamiliar one. Medical malpractice law involves intricate details, specific legal procedures, and often requires navigating the complexities of insurance companies. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can be your strongest advocate throughout this process. 

They possess the in-depth knowledge of medical standards, legal precedents, and evidence gathering techniques crucial for building a strong case.  Moreover, their experience allows them to effectively negotiate with insurance companies or represent you in court, if necessary. With an attorney by your side, you can ensure your rights are protected, and you have the best chance of achieving a fair and just resolution.

Get The Guardians on Your Side

At Tittle & Perlmuter we have helped victims of medical malpractice in Ohio recover millions for their injuries. We do not tolerate nurses who fail to follow the standard of care they are licensed to uphold. Every step of the way, we will keep you educated and updated on the progress of your case.

Get The Guardians on Your Side

Our team offers free case strategy sessions to evaluate your claim, and help you determine if you need a lawyer. We can arrange evening and weekend appointments, and we can come to you. Visit our Medical Malpractice page, or call by clicking the button below to schedule now.