Discussion 07.2: injured nurse | HA4050D-Healthcare Law | National American University

Discussion 07.2: Injured Nurse

SCENARIO (BASED ON A REAL FLORIDA CASE)

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A home healthcare and dialysis nurse visited one of her home health patients and found him in a

weakened state. Concerned, she took the patient to a hospital emergency room, and after several

hours, the patient was admitted to the hospital. In an effort to help and to show concern for the patient, the nurse followed the emergency room

technician to assist in transferring the patient. The technician’s duties included transferring patients

from gurneys to beds. The first step in a transfer is to lock the two beds together. If there is no one

aiding in the patient transfer, the bed railing on the opposite side must be in the upright position to

prevent the patient from rolling off the bed during the transfer. In this case, the technician positioned

the gurney next to the hospital bed to facilitate a rolling transfer, but did not place the bed railing on

the opposite side in the upright position. The nurse stood at the foot of the gurney while the patient

was asked to roll from the gurney onto the hospital bed. The nurse thought the patient was about to

roll off the far side of the bed, and she jumped across the bed to grab him. When the nurse grabbed the

patient, she felt a sharp pain across her lower back, and severe pain radiating into her left leg. Due to

this injury, the nurse filed suit against the hospital alleging negligence and medical negligence.

(Note: Even thought the nurse was essentially just a visitor at this time, the hospital would still owe her

a duty of care, at least ordinary care.)

(Note: If you would like to see the real case this scenario is based upon, check out Reeves v. N. Broward

Hosp. Dist., 821 So.2d 319 (Fla.App. 2002). Be warned—the scenario has altered the facts from the

original case. Do not rely upon the real case opinion in formulating your answer to the fictional scenario

in the discussion question.)

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. Should the hospital be liable to the nurse in this situation? Can she establish all the elements of

negligence?

2. Are there affirmative defenses available to the hospital that might shield them from liability? 

Legal Aspects of Healthcare Administration 13th Pozgar 2019 Jones & Bartlett-Vitalsource [email protected]#magicMAN61

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