Discussion 07.2: Injured Nurse
SCENARIO (BASED ON A REAL FLORIDA CASE)
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.)
1. Should the hospital be liable to the nurse in this situation? Can she establish all the elements of
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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