Sample Essay on Nursing: Negligence, Gross Negligence and Malpractice


Joseph Benson, aged sixty-two, was reported in the NBH Newspaper as a victim of an amputation mishap. This was after the right leg was amputated in order to resolve a horrible complication he had been suffering from in his left leg. Joseph was also suffering from diabetes resulting to poor circulation for a period of five years. Thus, when he discovered the wrong leg had been amputated, he was shocked and devastated. This negligence occurred at the Neighborhood Hospital which has also had to deal with various other complaints. For example, staff at the hospital confirmed that there were complaints of poor treatment coupled with nursing shortages and union issues. In order to address this form of malpractice, it is crucial to differentiate the terms negligence, gross negligence, and malpractice. Negligence refers to a situation during which a person or organization acts incompetently by adopting standards neither upholding nor enhancing care, causing more damages and harm. Thus, negligence occurs due to lack of reasoning in order to ensure that expected actions and results are acceptable and positive. The victim is therefore required to hire a personal injury lawyer to ensure he/she is compensated for damages obtained during the negligence. The compensation ought to cover medical bills, pain and suffering, as well as lost wages (Tanga, 2011).

Gross negligence, on the other hand, refers to a more serious form of malpractice attributed to factors beyond being careless. Thus, gross negligence refers to the complete failure of ensuring that care is shown, resulting to recklessness and the will to disregard standards of protecting and safeguarding the human life. A lawyer is therefore tasked in ensuring negligence to uphold duty of care is established in order to affirm breach of the duty resulting to damages and complications suffered by the victim are accounted for and compensated. Lastly, malpractice refers to acts undertaken especially by medical practitioners that are considered illegal hence improper. Malpractice, therefore, is wrongdoing undertaken by professionals due to misconduct and lack or breach of ethics as well as levels of professionalism (Tanga, 2011).

According to the NBH Newspaper, Joseph Benson suffered after the wrong leg was amputated due to negligence. This, however should be termed as gross negligence. This is because medical practitioners providing Joseph Benson with health care services at the Neighborhood Hospital ought to have observed the following procedures. First, the nurses and doctors tending to Joseph Benson ought to have prepared the proper acts to undertake in resolving the horrible complication he suffered below his left knee. This should have included ensuring the poor circulation attributed to his diabetic condition is resolved. Upholding this level of care would affirm staffs at the Neighborhood Hospital are competent and careful in attempts to enhance the quality of health of the patients (Rolando, 2015).

Personal Review of Joseph Benson’s Case

Joseph Benson’s case affirms staffs at Neighborhood Hospital were not keen in upholding high levels of care competently and carefully to enhance the quality of health of the patient. This is because the nurses and doctors did not even employ ethical standards enhancing the health care quality of Joseph’s left leg. Instead, they provided the patient with medical services without undertaking competent measures that resulted to more damages and harm suffered by Joseph Benson. The harm was mainly psychological trauma for losing the right leg that was in perfect condition. Conversely, the damages can be described as the persistent pain in his left leg. Thus, staff members at Neighborhood Hospital were negligent, lacked to observe proper reasoning, and ensure expected actions and results would be deemed acceptable and positive by the patient. More so, they completely failed to take and ensure medical services and cares were provided to Joseph Benson, which ought to be described as recklessness and the will to disregard standards and ethics protecting and safeguarding the human life.


It is therefore crucial for medical practitioners to implement effective and efficient documentation measure in order to reduce and prevent gross negligence and malpractice. This measure involves formulating patients’ records as legal documents as prove of the kind of service provided at a particular time by specific practitioners. The records also advocate health care providers to work together as a team dedicated towards improving patients’ conditions. Documentation also allows close scrutiny of patients’ charts and records to affirm they have been attended to and provided with effective and efficient medical services. Potential litigations allied to gross negligence and malpractice are therefore reduced and avoided. In consequence, documentation ought to be legible, accurate, and using approved abbreviation to provide patients’ objective information and form of before and after care provided (Bette, 2009).

Observing crucial nursing ethical principles also attributes towards preventing gross negligence and malpractice. For example, nurses ought to recognize early signs of the patients’ health conditions deteriorating or improving. As a result, nurses at Neighborhood Hospital ought to have noticed his left leg had not improved prompting them to notify the doctors. Consequently, a rapid response team ought to have been deployed to initiate nursing actions that will ensure the left leg is treated immediately. This would have reduced the amount of psychological torture Joseph suffered after waking up from the surgery and realizing he was in pain while lacking his right leg that had been in a perfect condition. Ultimately, ethics upholding nursing practices ought to enhance standards of care as a duty in order ensure expected results are positive, promising, and acceptable. This guarantees levels of simple or gross negligence as well as malpractice are prevented (Rolando, 2015).

The nurse handling Joseph Benson’s medical requirement therefore should have documented his case as follows in order to satisfy legal and ethical requirements. Foremost, the nurse ought to have determined the readers of the patient’s case. They included other healthcare providers and caretakers, lawyers and medical experts in case of a lawsuit, as well as the judge and jury (Bette, 2009).

Consequently, the nursing process comprising of assessments, diagnosis conducted by the nurse, planning, implementation, and evaluation procedures should have been followed effectively during patient care. Common mistakes such documentation of acute abnormalities as found during the assessment should be avoided. They should however be documented inclusive of a thorough elaboration to avoid implementation of an intervention resulting to permanent damages due to lack of crucial details. The intervention process initiated to address the patient’s healthcare condition should not be documented before the evaluation. Consequently, a patient’s mental status especially if he/she is undergoing a major healthcare procedure should be documented before and after. This will ensure abnormalities are determined early and appropriate interventions implemented. Assessments should be either objective or subjective. Thus, they should not be mismatched even if the two sets of assessments do not match.  Check off assessments should also be documented accurately to enhance the credibility of the nursing services provided (Bette, 2009).

Ultimately, the nursing practice at Neighborhood Hospital ought to have observed complete competency and accuracy of Joseph Benson’s medical records. As a result, the nurse would have affirmed to the surgeons and doctors that the patient’s left rather than right leg needed to undergo amputation. Consequently, the psychological, mental, physical, emotional, social, and economic damages and harm Joseph Benson suffered would have been prevented resulting to acceptable and positive outcomes he had hoped to achieve from the hospital (Tanga, 2011).


Rolando, T. L. (2015). Ethical and Legal Analysis of a Patient Case. The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice, 2(1), 1540-580.

Bette, C. (2009). Professional Documentation: Safe, Effective, and Legal. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing.

Tanga, H. Y. (2011). Nurse Drug Diversion and Nursing Leader’s Responsibilities: Legal, Regulatory, Ethical, Humanistic, and Practical Considerations. JONAS Healthcare Law, Ethics & Regulations, 13(1), 13-6.