Health Policy/Ethics: Legal and Ethical
While you are at your son’s baseball game, one of the other players slides into second base and then lies there without moving. Another player yells for help. The other parents know you are a nurse and ask you to check on the player while they call 911. When you approach the child, you note that his leg is fractured and lying at an awkward position. You feel that if you reposition the leg, you might cause more harm and pain for the child. You assess the leg and note it is warm with a palpable pedal pulse. You provide care to ensure he does not go into shock until the ambulance arrives. The child’s parents are called and will meet the ambulance at the emergency department. Three months after the incident you receive word that you are being sued for malpractice because you did not provide interventions to ensure the safety of the leg. The child is undergoing extensive physical therapy related to neuromuscular damage to his leg.
1. Does this scenario meet the basic elements of malpractice? Explain.
2. If you were working or volunteering at a first aid station and this scenario occurred, would the basic elements of malpractice apply? Why or why not?
3. If you are the first aid nurse in this scenario, what specific actions should you take immediately following the accident? How could this protect you from a possible lawsuit?