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Torts & Healthcare

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Matthew Garado

on 26 August 2014

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Transcript of Torts & Healthcare

What is Tort ?
4 Main Torts

Is the tort of restraining a person against their will.
4 Main Torts
Civil Negligence
An act that causes foreseeable harm/damage

Seeks monetary compensation (damages)

Suing rather than prosecuting

Civil Liability Act (2002)
Decisions are based on Civil Law and precedent
Elements of Negligence
Duty of Care
Provides reasonable, safe and minimum standard of care

Example: John was designated duty of care over Mrs Smith when the NUM asked him not to leave her side until the nurse special arrived

Elements of Negligence
Breaching Duty of Care
Duty of care is breached when the minimum standards of care are not met

Example: John breached his duty of care when he left Mrs Smith's bedside to retrieve a bedpan for another patient
Harm Incurred: This includes personal injury or death, damage to property and economic loss.

Example: Mrs Smith,experience both personal injury of 2 fractures but also pain and suffering.

Elements of Negligence
The Harm is Foreseeable: A nurse is not negligent unless the risk of injury was foreseeable.

Example: The risk was foreseeable, as Mrs Smith had a history of falls and was currently confused.
Torts & Healthcare

Matt G, Catherine M, Mimi. W, Molly. C, Mike. W, Jenny. C

Elements of Negligence
Not based on negligence, instead it is an intentional tort
False Imprisonment

When a patient wants to leave the hospital before they are formally discharged. It is their right to do so
The unlawful act of placing an individual in fear of immediate bodily harm, without their consent
Takes various forms within the healthcare setting but all of them essentially revolve around consent
Procedure on a patient without their consent is considered assault
A use of force that is not warranted or expected.
Atkins, K., Britton, B., & de Lacey, S. (2011). Ethics and law for Australian nurses. Australia: Cambridge University Press.
Staunton, P.J., & Chiarella, M. (2013). Law for nurses and midwives (7th ed.). Sydney: Churchill Livingstone.
Griffith, R., & Tengnah, C., A., (2013). Law and Professional Issues in Nursing. Exeter, UK. Learning Matters.
4 Main Torts

The release or publication of information which is
untrue or incorrect.

Deformation relates to information being released which can damage the reputation of person or patient and their interests.

Deformation is especially important for nurses to understand due to the access we have to a wide range of information on our patients.
4 Main Torts
Criminal Negligence
What is a Tort ?

- A body of rights and obligations that are applied by courts in civil proceedings to provide relief for people who have suffered harm from the wrongful acts of others.
- To enable a tort action it must be established that the defendant was under a legal duty to act in a particular way. It must also be proven that the duty has been breached and that any loss was a direct result of the breach.
Civil Liability Act 2002 (NSW)
Negligence is an act which has inflicted harm which was foreseeable. This means any damage or injury caused by someone which could have been avoided.

There are four limbs which allow us to identify if a nurse has been negligent. This includes having an established duty of care, breaching that duty, causing harm and foreseeability.

Nurses need to understand negligence as we have a high duty of care towards our patients which is gained through our registration.
Similar to Civil negligence

There is a criminal intention
The Key term to remember is intent

In Healthcare:
A high degree of recklessness or disregard that leads to harm and in the most serious cases, death!
Coroner's court plays a key role in this instance

Example: A nurse providing what they believe is the correct drug and dose but is in fact incorrect on both accounts.

Torts are civil acts or wrongs that lead to harm towards others
The 4 main torts are:
False Imprisonment
Civil and Criminal negligence
Main difference in healthcare is severe recklessness or disregard leading to harm
4 limbs of negligence
Duty of Care
Case Study
1. How many torts have you found in the case and what are they?

2. Is there a case for Civil or Criminal negligence? Why?

3. Prove this.
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