Healthcare Systems Module 3
1. What are the legal ramifications of this case?
Legally, there are elements of malpractice in this case. Negligence, or omission to do something a reasonable person would do, is evident by the supervisor, the nurse, and the LVN (Marquis & Huston, 2012). With this incident, there was not simply a failure to meet standard level of care, but there was injury to the patient since complications arose from the transfusion. If the patient were to die, which is a possible complication with a blood transfusion reaction that is not responded to in a timely manner, there would be increased legal ramifications. Legally, each party could be sued for negligence or malpractice, based on individual errors and the injury to the patient.
2. Should Mr. Jones die from this would the legal ramifications be different than if he recovered from the incident?
According to the FDA, more than 50 people die every year from blood transfusion reactions (FDA, 2012). If the patient were to die after the transfusion, there would be obvious evidence of an injury to the patient, which proves “actual patient injury” occurred (Marquis & Huston, 2012, p. 76). If the plaintiff, or someone who was representing this patient or suing on his/her behalf, could show that the blood transfusion directly caused the death or injury, then the nurse, nurse manager, and LVN would be liable (Marquis & Huston, 2012). If that patient had the reaction but the nurses and staff were able to save that patient and restore them to their previous level of health, then the injury would be less evident and would be more difficult to prove in court. However, even if a small level of injury occurred related to the blood transfusion reaction and the lack of timely response, then there still would be evident injury. The level of injury also would impact the compensation of the plaintiff and the extent of punishment towards the defendant.
3. Who among the staff is responsible for this error in judgment? Discuss what you should do, if anything.
Among the staff, the nursing supervisor, the RN, the LVN (Mary), and possibly the RN covering while the other RN went to dinner are responsible for this error in judgment. The nursing supervisor is responsible for staffing the unit and floating Mary (LVN) over from obstetrics. The supervisor should have understood that the LVN was unprepared and needed to be informed of policies and procedures. The nurse supervisor should have also taken action about the staffing ratios, which were alarmingly high patient to nurse. The RN should have watched her patient more closely and should never have delegated her assessment of a patient with a blood transfusion to an inexperienced LVN. The LVN should have voiced her uncertainty and refused this patient. The LVN should have understood her personal expertise and not have assumed responsibility for this patient. The RN should have explained to the LVN the signs and symptoms of a...