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The Nurse is Concerned about the Monitoring Device Instead of the Patient

Apr 5, 2015 | Hospital Negligence

There can be many different instances of a violation in terms of the basic standards of medical care, where the victim can file a medical malpractice case or wrongful death case, and have terrific chances of winning the case. Here is one example.

Overdose of Anesthesia

It is about two o’clock in the morning, and a patient who had recently undergone a hernia surgery, is staying overnight because he was given too much anesthesia and the doctors want to monitor him. The patient is kept on a regular floor, and is not being monitored, except for a pulse sock. This is a small device that slips on to the patient’s finger and reads the oxygen saturation level of the entire body.

It enables the nurses or doctors to see quickly how much oxygen your body is using and getting through to your entire body. In this instance, the device was set to trigger an alarm, in order to notify someone if the readings went below a certain level.

The nurse is on her rounds at two o’clock in the morning checking up on patients, and she hears this alarm go off, with an irritating beep. Now, instead of checking on the patient, the nurse goes to the monitor. The nurse then spends about ten minutes with the monitor, trying to adjust it, figuring out what is wrong with it, and trying to find a way to turn off the alarm and reset it so that she can go back on her rounds.

A Serious Nursing Error

Amazingly, she does not bother to check on the patient to see whether the alarm was indicating that the patient was having a serious problem. In fact, that was exactly what was going on.

This nurse literally ignored the patient, focused solely on the alarm thinking that there was a problem with the machine itself, without recognizing or realizing that the problem was with the patient. The patient was dying in front of the nurse, as he had no ability to breathe. He had no oxygen level since his oxygen had dropped dramatically, triggering an alarm on the pulse sock device. The nurse had no clue that the problem was not in the machine itself, it was rather with the patient. This should have been her first concern.

What was the Right Thing to Do

What the nurse should have done was address the patient first to determine whether the patient is ok, rather than focusing on the machine itself. The whole point of having the device was to monitor the patient’s oxygen saturation level. The device did its job, and raised the alarm when the patient’s reading went below normal levels. If the nurse had focused on the patient rather than the machine, the results would have been totally different, and the patient may have survived.

Point Blank Neglect

In this wrongful death case, the plaintiff has a striking opportunity to win this case since it shows a clear violation of basic standards of medical care.