LEGAL ROLES OF A NURSE

PROVIDER OF SERVICE y The nurse is expected to provide safe and competent care so that harm (physical, psychological or material) to the recipient of the service is prevented LIABILITY y Quality or state of being legally responsible for ones obligations and actions and to make financial restitution for wrongful acts STANDARDS OF NURSING CARE y Specific guidelines by which nurses should practice, directing nurses to perform duties in an appropriate manner SCOPE OF PRACTICE y The state tells the scope of practice for nurses, doctors, nursing assistants and others what they can and cannot do in the job. EMPLOYEE OR CONTRACTOR FOR SERVICE y A nurse who is employed by a hospital work as an agent of the hospital and the nurse s contract with clients is an implied one. AREAS OF POTENTIAL LIABILITIES OF A NURSE: CRIME y An act committed in the violation of public (criminal) law and punishable by a fine and or imprisonment. May be intentional or unintentional. CLASSIFICATION OF CRIME: FELONY y Acts or omissions punishable by law which may be committed by means of deceit (dolo) but also by means of fault (culpa). y There is deceit when the act is performed with deliberate intent. y Deliberate intent: freedom and intelligence y Fault: imprudence, negligence, lack of foresight or skill EXEMPTIONS FROM CRIMINAL: 1. LIABILITY y Imbecile y Insane (unless acting lucidly) y Ages 9-14 y/o (unless acting with discernment) 2. MISDEMEANOR y Offense inferior to felony y Punishable by indictment, or by particular prescribed proceedings (fine or short term jail sentence) EXAMPLES OF MISDEMEANOR y Petty theft y Traffic violations y Vandalism y Prostitution y Slapping a patient on the face

TORT Is a civil wrongdoing committed against a person or a person s property UNINTENTIONAL TORTS: NEGLIGENCE y Failure to act in a reasonable and prudent manner, whether as a layman or as a professional and whether in the simplest or most complex activities. y Harm/injury results from this failure. CRITERIA FOR NEGLIGENCE: y Duty of the nurse to the client. y Breach of the duty on the part of the nurse. y Injury to the client. y Casual relationship between the breach of duty and the client s subsequent injury. DOCTRINES APPLIED IN NEGLIGENCE: 1. RES IPSA LOQUITOR y The thing speaks for itself. y Obvious cause of injury affords reasonable evidence in the absence of explanation 2. RESPONDEAT SUPERIOR y Let the superior answer y Let the principal answer for the fault of his agent. 3. FORCE MAJEURE y Irresistible or superior force y It is a fact or accident which human prudence can neither foresee nor prevent. COMMON ACTS OF NEGLIGENCE A NURSE MAY BE HELD LIABLE FOR ACTS OF NEGLIGENCE y Injury to a delirious patient under the care of a nurse y Burns as a result of the negligent administration of hot water bags, heat lamps, vaporizers or sitz baths y Any object left in the patient s abdomen in the course of a surgical operation y Use of defective Equipment y Careless execution of doctor s orders y Medication errors y Fall y Medication without doctor s prescription y Failing to report pt. history and observations to the attending physician y Carelessness in caring for client s belongings y Ignoring complaints of chest pain, causing death MALPRACTICE Any professional misconduct, or a bad unskillful practice, or any practice contrary to law or established rules and regulations whereby the health of a person is injured POTENTIAL MALPRACTICE SITUATIONS IN NURSING y Medication error y Sponge count error y Burning a client y Client s fall y Failure to observe and take proper actions y Mistaken identity y Loss/damage of client s property y Failure in reporting crimes, torts and unsafe practice.

INTENTIONAL TORT: FRAUD y Deception; trickery y False presentation of some facts with the intention that it shall be acted upon by another person. INVASION OF PRIVACY y Vilolation of a person's right to withhold himself or his life from public scrutiny y Encroachment or trespass on another s body DEFAMATION y Communication that is false or made with careless disregard for the truth, and results in injury to the reputation of the person LIBEL y Defamation by means of print, writings or pictures SLANDER y Defamation by spoken words, stating unprivileged or false words by which a reputation is damaged. ASSAULT y Attempt or threat to touch another person unjustifiably. y When a person is put in the fear that he or she will be touched without their permission. BATTERY y Touching a person or patient without his consent y Doing a procedure to a patient without his consent FALSE IMPRISONMENT y Unlawful restraint or detention of another person against his wishes. y Confinement without authorization by a person who physically constricts another using force, threat or confining structures EXEMPTION FOR FALSE IMPRISONMENT y Patients with communicable diseases y Mentally-ill - if there is a danger they may take their own lives or jeopardize others FALSIFICATION OF CERTIFICATE OF REGISTRATION y Fake registration of birth y Switching of babies y Destruction of the identity of the child - crime against the civil status of a person ABORTION y Termination of pregnancy before age of viability (20-24 weeks) y Death of a fetus may be unintentional (miscarriage) or intentional INFANTICIDE y Crime committed when one kills a child less than three (3) days old PARRICIDE y Killing either his father or mother, legitimate or illegitimate child, legitimate ascendant or descendant, or legitimate spouse y Punishable by reclusion perpetua or death HOMICIDE y Killing a person not under parricide and without criminal intent and without criminal consequences. MURDER y Killing of a person, not falling under the crimes of parricide or infanticide QUALIFYING CIRCUMSTANCES FOR MURDER: y Treachery y Consideration of a reward or promise y During calamities y Evident premeditation y With cruelty by deliberately and inhumanely y augmenting the suffering of the victim

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