As the primary care professional for many Americans, nurse practitioners can be the targets of malpractice claims just as physicians. We’ll list some of the most common malpractice claims that target nurse practitioners, from diagnosis errors to prescription mistakes.
Failure To Diagnose
Most malpractice claims targeting nurse practitioners (NPs) involve the diagnosis in some way, with failure to diagnose being the most common claim. NPs often serve communities with few or no doctors, making them typically the first medical professionals a patient will see when experiencing symptoms of illness.
If an NP misses something during their initial evaluation or doesn’t order the right tests, it’s likely for serious illnesses like cancer or infection to go unnoticed until it’s too late. NPs serving these areas with few resources should be cautious regarding symptoms and diagnosis.
Another common malpractice claim against nurse practitioners regards errors with medication. Prescribing and administering medication is one of the principal duties of an NP that they likely do frequently every day.
Errors with medication can come in many forms, from administering the incorrect medicine to prescribing medications together that cause an adverse reaction in the patient. These mistakes may seem simple, but they can cause significant harm or illness in patients, so NPs must diligently and cautiously prescribe medication.
One malpractice claim that’s becoming more common against NPs and other medical professionals concerns pain management. The opioid epidemic is a significant problem in US healthcare, which has shed light on the unethical practice of overprescribing opioids.
NPs are often responsible for prescribing opioids, so they can be the target of a malpractice claim if they knowingly prescribed opioids to an addict or overprescribed the drugs to a patient and caused an opioid addiction. While NPs aren’t typically the target of overprescription claims, the increased focus on this unethical practice affects NPs and physicians.
Improper Treatment & Care
Improper treatment and care is a vague term for the malpractice of a medical professional mishandling a patient’s condition. NPs are often responsible for the primary care for millions of Americans, so they can be held responsible if their condition worsens due to the NP’s diagnosis and treatment.
A claim of improper treatment can mean many things, but it’s often associated with providing the incorrect treatment or a treatment that carries an unnecessary risk to the patient. If it’s found that the treatment for a patient’s illness was too risky and caused significant harm or death, the NP can be found responsible.
There are many other claims against nurse practitioners, so NP liability insurance is critical for any practicing NP. If you’re a nurse practitioner needing liability insurance, Baxter & Associates can help you find the right insurance policy.