An Ethical Analysis of Negligence
In this paper, the author will describe the main differences among negligence, gross negligence, and malpractice in the medical field. In addition, the author will explain his opinion about this article and the facts described in it as well as the rationale used to form this opinion. Furthermore, the author will describe the importance of documentation in the medical field as well as how nurses should document when providing care while complying with legal and ethical requirements.
Unintentional torts are the most common torts in the medical field. Torts are acts occurred without the tortfeasor intention to cause harm; however, some type of harm results from it. Torts are also actions committed unreasonably or disregarding the consequences, in legal terms this represents negligence (Judson & Harrison, 2010). According to Judson and Harrison (2010), negligence is an unintentional tort and a person is negligent when in similar circumstances he or she did not performed as expected from a reasonable person (Judson & Harrison, 2010).
Defining gross negligence is a more complicated issue. According to Thornton (2006) the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code defines gross negligence as an act of omission that when viewed from the position of the actor at the time the omission occurred it shows a significant degree of risk and possible harm to others (Thornton, 2006). In addition, the actor is aware of the risks but proceeds disregarding the rights, welfare, or safety of others (Thornton, 2006). Negligence must be proven prior to establishing gross negligence; however, circumstantial evidence can also establish gross negligence (Thornton, 2006).
According to Croke (2003) the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations defines malpractice as improper, unethical conduct, or unreasonable lack of skill by a holder of a…...