Blessyl Grace L.



LEGAL RESPONSIBILITIES OF NURSES Importance Like any member of the other professions, a professional nurse has many legal responsibilities to assume in the practice of her or his profession. These legal responsibilities are entwined in every service she renders to the patient and they may be felt by her especially when questions arise involving negligence in the performance of her duties, or in the care or supervision of the patient, or in the fulfillment of the contractual obligations. It’s importance to a nurse that she knows the legal responsibilities attached to the various phases of her professional practice so that she may be properly guided in the discharge of her functions. A nurse who knows her legal responsibilities will find it easier to avoid incurring criminal liability. To know what these responsibilities are, she does not need to have a mastery of the law. It is sufficient that she possesses such a working knowledge of her legal entanglements and avoid criminal liability. NURSING CARE: A nurse, the performance of nursing service, shall be responsible for the utilization of the nursing process, which includes among others, the implementation of the nursing care. Nursing care involves the traditional and innovative approaches in the nursing techniques and procedures, comfort measures, health teachings and administration of prescription for treatment, therapist, medication and hypodermic, intramuscular and intravenous injections. In short, a nurse who accepts an employment such undertakes to hold him or herself responsible for the performance or execution of every nursing care and procedures. Every service, which a nurse renders to a patient, is coupled with a legal responsibility of some kind. Where a hospital nurse for instance by her act or omission, cause damage to the patient, she will be liable for damages if she is at fault or negligent. That hospital shall also likewise be liable for the damages caused by her, unless it can prove that it has observed all the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent the damage. CIVIL CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES Art 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre existing contractual relation between the parties, is called a quasi-delict. Art 2180. The obligation imposed by Article 2176 is demandable not only for one’s own acts or omissions, but also for those of persons for whom one is responsible. The father and, in case of his death or incapacity, the mother, are responsible for the damages caused by the minor children who live in their company. Guardians are liable for damages caused by the minors or incapacitated persons who are under their authority and live in their company.

A nurse should always be aware of possible criminal liability attached to abortions. to see to it that the patient affixes his signature on the prescribe form without a necessary delay. shall suffer the penalty for imprisonment from 17 years. in which case what is provided in Article 2176 shall be applicable. a physician or midwife who. UNAUTHORIZED DISCHARGE OF PATIENTS: . taking advantage of his or her scientific knowledge or skill. so long as they remain in their custody. Employers shall be liable for damages caused by their employees and household helpers acting within the scope of their assigned tasks. The responsibility treated of in this Article shall cease when the persons herein mentioned proved that they observed all the diligence of the good father of the family to prevent damage.The owners and managers of an establishment or enterprise are likewise responsible for damages caused by their employees in the service of the branches in which the latter are employed or on the occasion of their functions. relative. nevertheless. even though the former are not engaged in any business or industry The State is responsible in like manner when it acts through a special agent: but not when the damage has been caused by the official to whom the task done properly pertains. RESPONSIBILITY IN ABORTION CASES Sometimes a patient who is in a condition of abortion enters the hospital for treatment and confinement. or if due to her negligent or careless execution of the doctor’s order. While ordinarily a nurse maybe exempted from liability for the damages done to the patient under her care whenever the service she renders to him done in pursuance of a doctor’s order. teachers are heads of establishments of arts and trades shall be liable for damages caused by their pupils and students or apprentices. it is all-important to an at ending nurse whenever a patent is under her care is to be operated on. Under the revised Penal Code. It is a practice of a hospital in such a case to have the patient assumed full responsibility of her abortion. if violence was used or 10 years and one day to 12 years. she may be held liable. Courts will not hesitate to find nurse guilty of negligence in the supervision of the patient if she failed or omitted to take precautions or to undertake steps to safeguard the patients against possible injury that may arise in the course of their treatment and the care. or guardian must first be obtained. in certain cases. if without violence but was done without consent of the patient 4 years. By requiring her to sign a statement relieving the hospital and its personnel from any liability therefore. Lastly. 4 months and one day to 20 years. shall cause an abortion or assist in causing the same. 2 months and one day to 6 years. her patient suffers an injury. is consent thereto or the approval of his parent. Since the nurse is the person who usually attends to the matter of securing the patients signature on th form for consent to surgery. OPERATION OF PATIENT It is an established practice in hospitals that before a patient is submitted to an operation.

would have exercised under like or similar circumstances. it is the failure to exercise that degree of care and prudence which a reasonably prudent person would have exercise in like or similar circumstances. CONCEPT OF ACCOUNTABILITY: The accountability of a nurse to the patient. It has been long recognized that malpractice applies to physician and surgeons who commit negligent act in treating patient or who unskillfully treat patients not within the established standards of quality. or if she failed to exercise that degree of care which a reasonably prudent nurse. In such case the nurse should relieve herself of any responsibilities for his unauthorized discharge by requiring him to sign a statement whereby he assumes full responsibility for leaving the hospital without the consent of the physician and whereby he releases the hospital personnel from any responsibility for such discharge. and employer or to the public at large has reference to the quality of nursing care she renders. she must expect that she will be held responsible for the proper and faithful performance of her contractual obligations. the term malpractice is sometimes used loosely to refer to the negligence of a member of any professional groups. The accountability of a nurse practitioner to the public for the quality of her nursing services is presumed because the primordial aim of the nursing law is to “protect te public”. Negligence consists in the violation of the duty owing by the party inflicting the injury to the person injured. in like or similar circumstances. exposes her to a certain degree of accountability. it is not only the power but the duty of the Board of Nursing to discipline a nurse practitioner that is found to be professionally incompetent or guilty of unethical practices. Malpractice and Negligence Malpractice is defined as any professional misconduct. PROFESSIONAL NEGLIGENCE: Negligence is defined as the doing of the thing which a reasonably prudent person would have not done. Today. The trend toward the granting of more independence to the professional nurses to their practice so as to enable them to give optimum services to the public has projected new significance to the issue of the nurse’s accountability to the public for the quality of nursing care she renders. A nurse may be considered negligent in the case of her patient if. . as required in the due performance of her duties. in the practice of her profession. or a practice contrary to established rules. physician. Consequently. A contractual obligations which a nurse practitioners has assumed or agreed to assume. whenever a nurse enters to a contract or agreement to perform a nursing service. it means objectionable practice. or did that which she ought not to have done.Sometimes a patient should insist to leave the hospital against the advice of the attending physician. or any unreasonable lack of skill or fidelity in the performance of profession or fiduciary duties. she neglected to do that which she ought to have done. or the failure to do the thing which a reasonably prudent person would have done.