• Medical durable power of attorney: Health-care proxy, designates another person to make health-care decisions for a person if the client becomes incompetent or unable to make such decisions.
Issues in Health-Care Litigation (cont’d) • Patient Self-Determination Act (cont’d) – Each state outlines its own requirements for executing and revoking the medical durable power of attorney and living wills. • It is the nurse’s responsibility to know the laws of their state regarding living wills – Documents and rules can be accessed on the state’s website. – They are legal documents and are enforceable under the law.
Legal Concepts • Good Samaritan Law: written to encourage health-care professionals to help in emergency situations. – Reduces the professional liability when responsible care is used. – Care given must be in the professional’s scope of practice and training. – Rests on the concept of
Legal Concepts (cont’d) • True emergency: exists when a person will either die or have a permanent injury if not treated immediately. – Consent is considered implied; the person, if awake or able, would want care. – Can be used with children under 18.
Legal Concepts (cont’d) • Statute of limitation: a time period after which a malpractice suit cannot be filed. – Generally, 2 years after the discovery of injury – In children, up to age 21
Legal Concepts (cont’d) • Expert witness: a person called to provide special information or opinions in cases that require special study or experience. – Usually an instructor or nursing supervisor – Can give opinions—usually testimony only allows facts
Protection Against Lawsuits • Maintain good medical records. • Establish good relationships with clients. • Keep nursing skills current. • Assess the client frequently for changes. • Maintain professional manner. • Avoid making statements that may admit fault.
Protection Against Lawsuits (cont’d) • Don’t criticize other professionals. • Stay within your scope of practice. • Be definite about instructions. • Take extra precautions with telephone orders. • Monitor the care of those you supervise. • Check the condition of health-care equipment you are using.
Protection Against Lawsuits (cont’d) • If in doubt, stop! • Watch for adverse outcomes (medications, treatments, etc.). • If you suspect a lawsuit, notify your insurance carrier immediately. • Never tell a patient you have malpractice insurance. • If a suit is filed, don’t talk to anyone but your lawyer.
Protection Against Lawsuits (cont’d) • SBAR – S ituation – B ackground – A ssessment – R ecommendation • Using a systematic communication approach reduces the likelihood of confusion
Student Clinical Practice • Many nurses work with student nurses. – Student nurses do NOT practice on the instructor’s nor the staff’s license. – Students practice under an EXEMPTION in the nurse practice act that allows non-nurses to practice nursing in certain situations. – Students are liable for their own actions. – Instructors and registered nurses (RNs) can be held liable under supervisor liability.
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