Mercedes Yumar

Advanced Primary Care of Family Practicum II


The four elements of malpractice includes duty, breach of duty, damage and causation. Duty refers to cases where a nurse must follow orders from practioners and interpreting these orders and making sure that the duty is performed in the right way. Malpractice will therefore occur when a nurse dies not performed his or her duty when caring for patients or when these duties are not performed in the right way. In order to avoid cases of duty malpractice a nurse must therefore follow orders and perform their duties efficiently following the standards set forth.

Breach of duty is the other element of malpractice, this elements entails malpractice occurring where a nurse fails to use standardized degree of care in a situation where another profession with the same level of specialty would have used. In order to avoid such cases, a nurse should be well informed on existing and emerging standards of care.

Damages is the other element where malpractice occurs as a result of breach of duty, malpractice occur is a patient suffers physical or emotional damages or in some cases aggravation of existing injuries. The forth element is causation, malpractice in this case occur whereby patient care results into further damage for example a pregnant mother may in future cite malpractice that resulted into an unhealthy baby born long after care.

A nurse should therefore be conversant with these elements that will help protect from claims that do not satisfy the four elements. Malpractice insurance will also help protect professions from such claims. Occurrence coverage would be more reliable especially if claims come long after patient care has taken place.









Muller Sanon

Practicum II


Malpractice is a type of negligence; it is often called “professional negligence”. It occurs when a licensed professional (like a doctor, lawyer or accountant) fails to provide services as per the standards set by the governing body (“standard of care”), subsequently causing harm to the plaintiff.

If a nurse does not perform her duty to avoid causing foreseeable injuries, it is considered to be an act of negligence. In medical malpractice occurs when a doctor fails to abide by the standards of his profession, causing injury in the process to the plaintiff. Malpractice lawsuits are most commonly brought against medical and legal professionals (Westrick & Dempski, 2009).

It is important to know that some standards of care fail when there is failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis, misreading or ignoring laboratory results, unnecessary surgery, surgical errors or wrong site surgery, and improper medication or dosage to name a few.




Westrick, S. J., & Dempski, K. (2009). Essentials of nursing law and ethics. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett.









Lizandra Alvarez Hernandez

11/22/20, 12:08 AM


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Medical malpractice is a term used to describe actions taken by a medical professional that cause harm to befall a patient. Medical malpractice is broken down into four components necessary to demonstrate that the medical professional is at fault. The easiest way to understand the four components is by looking at them in chronological order. The first element is a professional duty owed to the patient. Then we have the breach of such, followed by injury caused by the breach. Finally, the resulting damages which counts for both monetary value as well as the pain and suffering (Bal, 2019).

A common example of a medical malpractice in nursing is failure to properly assessing vitals before administering a medication. As a medical professional, we have a duty owed to the patient to not cause harm. One way that harm can be brought on to the patient is by failing to assess the necessary vital sings before administering a drug. By not doing so we are putting the patient at risk of serious injury and possible adverse effects. A patient’s condition can change at any point in time and medications have different side effects. It is our job to properly assess before administering (Sohn, 2017).

In this particular scenario the medical professional is able to avoid malpractice by making sure that they properly assess vitals before administering the medications. Overall, medical professional must be able to avoid or less damage to the patient by making sure they provide the proper and necessary care.







Bal B. S. (2019). An introduction to medical malpractice in the United States. Clinical orthopaedics and related research467(2), 339–347.

Sohn D. H. (2017). Negligence, genuine error, and litigation. International journal of general medicine6, 49–56.

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Idalmis Lopez

11/21/20, 12:28 PM

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According to data from Sweeney, LeMahieu, & Fryer (2017), 41.46% of malpractice claims involving nurses are diagnosis problems, followed by treatment-related at 30.79%. Nurses are supposed to provide complete care to patients that meet the medical field’s set standards. Therefore, certain elements are mandatory for a patient to file a malpractice lawsuit against a practicing nurse.

First, a nurse has an obligation of duty owed to the patient. When there is neglect, he/she is subject to professional malpractice. Responsibility to a safe environment and following orders given by a physician for the patient should be a top priority. Secondly, a nurse should meet all duties assigned to the patient, termed as a breach of duty. These involve a nurse forgetting to take certain precautions, such as maintaining a safe patient environment. An example of a breach of duty occurs when a nurse fails to tie a violent patient on the bed, and he/she falls (Brous, 2020)

The Third element is damage; when there is a breach of duty, it more likely that the patient will suffer injuries. In the lawsuit, a nurse will be charged with neglect that led to the damages, and the patient asks for compensation. Nevertheless, if the patient did not sustain injuries, there is no compensation. Lastly, there is the causation element, which is the most difficult to prove in medical malpractice. In this case, there must be a direct relationship between cause and effect in the breach of duty or injury. For example, the nurse must have left the patient untied when they fell.

To avoid future instances of professional malpractice, a nurse should always be present to their patient, ensure the patient’s environmental safety, follow physician’s directives strictly, and avoid spending time on social media to eliminate distractions.



Brous, E. (2020). The Elements of a Nursing Malpractice Case, Part 4: Harm. AJN The American Journal of Nursing, 120(3), 61-64.

Sweeney, C. F., LeMahieu, A., & Fryer, G. E. (2017). Nurse practitioner malpractice data: informing nursing education. Journal of Professional Nursing, 33(4), 271-275.


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Evelyn Dominguez

11/21/20, 12:24 PM


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There are four main elements of medical malpractice that would be needed for a claim of malpractice to be validated. There must be an existence of legal duty. The doctor owes a legal duty to the patient once they agree to treat the patient. Once the doctor-patient relationship is set, the doctor has a legal duty to treat the patient. The legal duty in a case of malpractice is the standard of medical care. The doctor needs to treat the patient with the same skill and care as a trained medical professional would do in the same situation. (Robenalt, 2017). An example of is when a psychiatrist had a duty to perform a suicide assessment before discharging the patient. The second element is breach of medical standard of care. This is proven by showing that the doctor fell short of meeting the medical standard of care. (Robenalt, 2017). An example is when the psychiatrist discharged a patient without making a suicide assessment.

The third element is a medical negligence which leads to harm. The patient’s attorney must show that the doctor’s conduct caused harm. The plaintiff must show that if the psychiatrist conducted the suicide assessment, the patient would not have committed suicide. The fourth element is damages for injuries that were caused by medical malpractice. The injury must be measurable and be entitled to damages. (Robenalt, 2017). The plaintiff must prove that the patient died due to suicide after they were discharged. Medical malpractice can be minimized by practicing good medicine, seeing your patients in person, responding quickly to medical emergencies, knowing and following community standards, and thinking about the worst case scenario when treating the patient. (Bono, Wermuth, & Hipskind, 2020).







Bono, MJ; Wermuth, HR; & Hipskind, JE. (2020). Medical Malpractice. Retrieved from:

Robenalt, T. (2017, February 22). The four elements of malpractice. Retrieved from

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Robert Alonso

11/21/20, 12:19 PM


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Medical practitioners are obligated by law to offer health care services which meet the necessary set standards of care. These standards of care can vary from being specific for nurses or general for other health care practitioners (Grant, 2017). The four elements of medical malpractice entail a professional duty to a patient, breach of such a duty, injury caused by the breach, and finally the resulting damages. These conditions for nursing malpractice are universal to all medical professionals (Brock et al., 2017)

Breach of duty entails the specific duty owed to a patient being violated by a nurse. For example, when a nurse does not provide his/her patient with a safe environment, like forgetting to put up the bed rails which may result to the patient falling and getting injured. The nurse failing to offer a safe surrounding to the patient can constitute a breach of duty due to negligence. Professional duty to a patient entails all obligations that a nurse should fulfill to a patient. For example following the physician’s treatment plan, and guaranteeing patient safety (Grant, 2017).

Causation refers to the relation between cause and effect. It states that an event was an outcome of the occurrence of another event. For example, a nurse leaving a used syringe on the floor, causes a patient to step on it and get injured in the process. Damage or injury is caused by a breach of duty that results to bodily harm. For example a patient falls from a hospital bed because the bed rails were not in place and suffers injuries, which constitute a claim for damage (Brock et al., 2017). Evidence of damage is a body injury. Nurses can prevent malpractices by being keen while on duty and updated on current care standards. They can also get consent from a patient before attending to them (Brock et al., 2017). Nurses need to manage the expectations of patients by effectively communicating to them about their health issues and the kind of care to be given.



Brock, D. M., Nicholson, J. G., & Hooker, R. S. (2017). Physician assistant and nurse practitioner malpractice trends. Medical Care Research and Review, 74(5), 613-624.

Grant, P. D. (2017). Nursing Malpractice/Negligence and Liability. Law for Nurse Leaders, 51.


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Ariel Lopez

11/21/20, 12:17 PM


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Medical providers should provide health care that meets the required standards. These standards may be specific to nurses or might be quite general. There are four elements of medical malpractice that should be met to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against a certain nurse. These nursing malpractice requirements are similar to all medical professionals, including physicians and doctors. The elements are as discussed below.

Duty: Medial providers owe their duties o their patients. Patients are normally owed a safe environment, and nurses have a duty to follow doctors’ and physicians’ orders and instructions for the patients.

Breach of duty: Duties owed to patients may be breached, meaning the duties are not delivered as expected. For instance, a nurse may forget to put the bed rail in the right position, and the patient ends up falling down. The nurse’s failure to ensure the patient has a safe environment is termed as a breach of duty.

Damages: Damages occur from a breach of duty. The patient may get injured after falling from the bed, and these damages can be claimed.

Causation: This a difficult element to prove because there must be a direct cause-and-effect between the injury and the breach of duty. It is required that the breach of duty must have led to the injury. For instance, if the nurse had checked the bed, the patient would have fallen; hence, the breach of duty led to the injury.

To avoid these malpractice cases, nurses should ensure they are careful while performing their duties. They should prioritize patients’ wellness and ensure their safety always.



Barbacci, L. (2020). Has Malpractice Changed Nursing Practice?.

Brous, E. (2020). The Elements of a Nursing Malpractice Case, Part 4: Harm. AJN The American Journal of Nursing120(3), 61-64.


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Euclides Munoz Perez

11/18/20, 10:16 PM


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The malpractice element includes breach of duty, resulting in damage, damage caused by injury, negligence, and professional responsibility payable to the patient (Brous, 2020). When a patient claims that he was not serviced well must have evidence that the doctor acted negligently, which resulted in the pain of the injury.

An example of a breach of duty is when the nurses have to offer a suitable environment for the patients. Still, they fail to provide a sanitary environment for the patients. It is the nurses’ role to ensure that the patients are provided with a suitable environment for the patients. The inability of the nurses to maintain an appropriate setting for the patients is a breach of duty. The nurses can avoid a breach of duty to ensure that their environments are always clean.

An example of negligence is when a nurse fails to charge the medical equipment before being used fully. The nurse’s responsibility is to check if the equipment is fully captured before being used on patients. Failure to do so is negligence. Besides, failure to monitor how the patients are doing is another form of negligence (Jacoby et al., 2017). A nurse has to check how the patients are doing. Negligence in nursing can be avoided but closely checking your patients and monitoring on how they are doing. Besides, nurses have to make sure that the equipment is in the right conditions before anything happens.

An example of damage caused but the patient is when the nurse takes a phone call and leaves the patient while administering treatment. Picking of the phone call may make the patient wounds worsen than how it was. The injury can be avoided by nurses ensuring that they don’t pick phone calls while on duty and ensuring that they do all the treatments appropriately.




Jacoby, S. R., & Scruth, E. A. (2017). Negligence and the Nurse: The Value of the Code of Ethics for Nurses. Clinical Nurse Specialist31(4), 183-185.

Brous, E. (2020). The Elements of a Nursing Malpractice Case, Part 4: Harm. AJN The American Journal of Nursing120(3), 61-64

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