The NC Supreme Court, not to be confused by the one in DC doing all manner of hateful things, ruled on August 21 that a nurse, under the direction of a doctor, can be held liable for medical mistakes.
The phrase under direction of a doctor is important. Last week I wrote about a nurse who went around a doctor’s directive and the patient died.
This week I’m writing about being held liable for medical malpractice.
This is a thing now.
I am not a doctor. Nothing I do is without an order. Please explain to me why I could now be held liable for following a doctor’s directive.
As far as I’m concerned this is yet another attack on nurses and nursing.
This ruling, which was 3-2 was controversial. Of course. This puts nurses in the line of legal liability for following a doctor’s direction. Not one of these judges is in the healthcare field. Not one of these judges has had to make a difficult decision at go time when the stakes are impossibly high and the pressure is immense.
Of course not.
And most nurses don’t carry medical liability insurance. They are being counseled against it. The healthcare system they are hired into has an umbrella coverage of its sites and its workers. Okay, the nurse thinks to herself, I’ll just be double covered.
Not so! Because the existence of liability insurance that the nurse carries is DISCOVERABLE.
This means that if something goes terribly awry and patient are hurt, or patients who sue for the hell of it (you know they exist), their lawyers can ask if you have additional coverage. And you have to answer. Yes, this is an over-simplification of discovery.
This is also why a nurse shouldn’t keep a diary of cases with details. This is also discoverable. And can land you in legal hot water.
There was already an impending nursing shortage in North Carolina. This is going to make it worse.
The hits keep coming.
How long until the frogs who are getting slowly cooked jump on out?