A negligence suit occurs when a plaintiff files a claim or case against a defendant for the damages he or she has caused that interfered with the well-being of the claimant. However to establish the claim for negligence, a plaintiff has to prove the four elements; There was a duty the defendant owed the plaintiff in order to conform to a required standard of care, the defendant breached this duty of conduct, breaching of this duty caused the damage to the plaintiff and the damages caused to the plaintiff are actual, provable and measurable in terms of monetary loss (Guido, 2014).
Let us consider a situation where a medical negligence suit is filed by a plaintiff, in this case, the patient against a nurse, the defendant. The patient is suffering from skin rashes and itching and is admitted to hospital for quite sometimes to get medication until full recovery. The nurse handling this case administers topical corticosteroids and Clotrimazole and Beclomethasone Dipropionate (Clob-B) skin cream to ease itching. However, the nurse does not ask the patient whether he or she is allergic to the skin cream and after applying the cream, the patient begins reacting and developing other secondary infections. The nurse pieces of advice the patient to keep using the cream believing the reaction will cease with time instead of introducing an alternative lubricating lotion. In this scenario, the patient has a right to sue the medical practitioner on the grounds of medical negligence given the fact that he or she failed to provide adequate care to meet with the medical professional standards in such situations. The negligence, in this case, is the primary basis for the patient's allegations against medical malpractice by the nurse (Guido, 2014). The proof of the negligence suit meets the elements of breach of duty, causation, damages, and duty.
Given duty, the nurse has a role to play in having ensured the patient receives care and physical safety without any limitation. The nurse, however, fails to take all the necessary precautions and tests on the patient to ensure he or she has no allergic reactions to any given skin cream. Due to negligence, the medical practitioner subjects the patient to secondary infections after the reaction with the skin cream. In this case, the medical practitioner is liable for the outcomes and thus faces negligence suit (Owen, 2006). Breach of duty is furthermore evident in this negligence suit given the fact that the defendant must protect the plaintiff at all times, but in this case, he or she breached the duty. Through negligence, the defendant knowingly exposed the plaintiff to further injuries instead of taking care of the initial problem. Causation element as a proof of the negligence suit is evidence where the plaintiff, in this case, the patient's secondary infections were caused by the skin cream provided by the nurse.
Despite the fact that this element in most cases is always hard to prove, the suit is deferent here since the nurse negligently caused the patient to contact other illnesses after a further skin reaction with the skin cream. Evidently, the plaintiff is in a position to prove that he or she had not used anything else apart from the medication prescribed and provided by the nurse. Therefore, the defendant's actions are visible to have been the direct cause of the patient's damage. After the establishment of duty, breach of duty and causation in the negligence suit, a monetary value is therefore considered for the injury caused on the plaintiff. The damages aim to ensure the plaintiff, in this case, receives medication that will help solve the initial problem as well as that which the defendant caused due to the act of negligence (Owen, 2006). In this suit, the purpose of the monetary award offered to the plaintiff by the court should be able to cover medical costs, pain, and suffering caused by the act of negligence.
Guido, GW. (2014).Legal and ethical issues in nursing. (6th Ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall chapters 1, 2, 5, 6, 7)
Owen, D. G. (2006). The five elements of negligence. Hofstra L. Rev., 35, 1671.
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