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The Law And Medicine Essay

2066 words - 9 pages

The law and how it is interpreted and followed in the administration of medicine is an important aspect that must be placed at the forefront. The law, simply put, refers to social rules of conduct that are enforceable and are not meant to be broken. While the practice of medicine carries a myriad of systematic complexities which expose healthcare organizations to potential legal problems, healthcare leaders must establish procedural methods and policies to mitigate the risk of liability through implementation of robust risk management programs. Failure to adhere to established laws, policies, and procedures can lead to legal issues for both the organization and its employees (Brock & Mastroianni, 2013).
As seen in the project case study for this course, adherence to the policies and procedures, as well as an understanding of the law was ignored, thus triggering a legal suit against the healthcare organization and one of its staff members. To fully understand and answer the questions required for this course project, I will analyze the information in an objective manner utilizing the facts as they relate to the law. The case information provided for HCA 302 students in the course project require several questions to be answered in regards to the nurses’ conduct, whether or not the nurse qualified for immunity, the level of assessment and reassessment that was conducted, the importance of documentation, and whether the change in the patients’ blood pressure warranted physician notification and communication.
In reviewing the case provided, I found that the nurse should not be shielded from liability on the basis that she is a public official. To better understand the reasoning for my answer, it is appropriate to address the law as it relates to qualified immunity. Qualified immunity is granted to public officials who are sued for civil damages that did not result from a violation of the individual’s statutory or constitutional rights. It serves as a means to protect state and federal employees who are performing their jobs and are in compliance with the laws (Mukherji, 2013).
In the case presented, the nurse was not entitled to qualified immunity as a staff member of a community hospital. In order to establish qualified immunity, the nurse must be a public official employed by the state or federal government. Additionally, those that are protected, must act within their scope of responsibility and perform their duties with due care. In this case, the nurse was not protected and even had she been, her actions clearly violated the patients’ rights to reasonable care. In addition, because the nurse exercised her power carelessly and made treatment decisions on her own, rather than consulting with the physician, she was not shielded from liability.
Additional consideration must also address whether or not the nurse acted as a “reasonable person.” Since the nurse was aware that the patient’s condition changed from a hypertensive to a hypotensive...

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