Litigation Case Study Essay Example

Litigation Case Study Essay Example

Litigation Case Study Instruction

Find a litigation case study that involves either nursing (or medical, if necessary) malpractice or negligence with understanding of the documentation necessary, applicable codes, legislation and laws. This assignment aims to provide evidence that you: (a) understand the ethical and legal issues, (b) are capable of referring to applicable statutes and/or organization’s codes, and (c) are aware of consequences for such judgments.

Be sure that you have full citation of the case (e.g. Smith vs St. Elsewhere Hospital, 2014, from a reputable source (e.g. nursing journal versus Joe’s Nursing Blog).
Explain what aspects of nursing ethics and state/ federal law were violated.
Draw from ANA ethical/ practice codes & standards, medical/ nursing specialty organizations. positions, and the California Nursing Practice Act as relevant.
Explain how Bentham/ Mills/ Kant would feel about the case.
Note the relationship of consequences (both ethical and legal) with the above codes and laws.

Litigation Case Study

Litigation case

The case involved a nurse who was sued for negligence in a wrongful death lawsuit. In this case, an elderly patient (62-year old female) who had numerous abdominal surgeries in her history and excessive scare tissue complained of abdominal pain and vomiting. Her lungs were clear, and so she was rehydrated and treated for pain and nausea. In addition, a physician diagnosed her with constipation for which she was placed on bowel rest with no surgery being indicated. Two days later, the nurse noticed that the patient had dry heaves but was breathing normally and reported this on the notes. A second physician reviewed the case and advised that she be seen by the surgeon who performed her gastric bypass, an appointment for this was scheduled for the next day. During the night, the patient vomited numerous times for which the nurse reported in her notes that the patient experienced lower pain levels but had a ‘knotted’ abdomen. Also, the nurse notes revealed that the patient had clear lungs and small bowel movement with tan color and faint odor. The nurse’s early morning notes revealed that the patient was stable. The patient was transferred to the second hospital in the early morning where her situation changed with low white blood cell count being reported alongside bowel obstruction and evidence of pneumonia revealed through a CT scan. Antibiotics were prescribed and administered for the pneumonia, but the patient’s condition continued to worsen until she died the following day. The patient’s son filed a wrongful death suit against the second hospital and medical personnel who care for her mother, for which the courts ruled in favor of the son’s suit citing that the defendants were negligent. The court indicated that the nurse failed to notify the physician about the small bowel movement that was tan in color and had a faint odor, and this substantially contributed to the patient’s death (Brent, 2021).  Litigation Case Study Essay Example

Explain what aspects of nursing ethics and state/ federal law were violated.

The nurse had an ethical and legal responsibility to report the bowl movement color and odor to the attending physician as this was a significant change in the patient’s condition. First, the nurse had an ethical responsibility. According to the non-maleficence prince of nursing ethics, nurses have a responsibility to ensure the patients’ safety and a major priority to prevent any damage or injury to them. In addition, the ethics of negligent nursing care can be evaluated from the moral perspective of: practical value in the sense of offering positive benefits and outcomes (patient being healed and spending less time and money on care); and moral value in terms of the promotion and protection of human dignity and humanity. Besides that, the institutional and professional guidelines related to such significant changes were not followed (Pozgar, 2020)


Second, the nurse had a legal responsibility. Nurses are the advocates of patients, and must be committed to ensuring that the patients under their care receive the highest quality care possible. This is a legal commitment that includes the nurse’s responsibility to report any significant changes in the status of the patient, and follow through in ensuring that an appropriate intervention is initiated. Failure to report significant changes to the condition of the patient exposes the nurse to legal liability (Huynh & Haddad, 2022). Both the federal and California state nursing practice laws are clear on this, indicating that the nurse can be found legally liable of negligent care for failing to report a significant change in the condition of the patient if it results in the patient being injured or suffering damages (State of California, 2022).

Explain how Bentham/ Mills/ Kant would feel about the case.

Jeremy Bentham would feel that the nurse was ethically wrong. That is because Bentham argues that the ethical choice is one that yields the greatest good or happiness. In failing to report the significant changes in the condition of the patient, the nurse caused the patient’s situation to deteriorate and this contributed to the death. Reporting the significant changes would have yielded the greatest good by ensuring that the patient received the appropriate care (White, 2017).

Immanuel Kant would feel that the nurse was ethically wrong in the case. That is because Kant argues that right and wrong is determined by logic, and not emotion. The nurse is employed to provide nursing care, and this is an expectation that any and all significant changes in the condition of the patient must be reported, a logical expectation (White, 2017).


Brent, N. J. (2021, October 5). Nurse’s Inaction Leads to Wrongful Death Lawsuit for Hospital.

Huynh, A. P., & Haddad, L. M. (2022). Nursing Practice Act. StatPearls Publishing.

Pozgar, G. D. (2020). Legal and Ethical Issues for Health Professionals (5th ed.). John & Bartlett Learning, LLC.

State of California (2022). Nursing Practice Act.

White, T. I. (2017). Right and Wrong: A Practical Introduction to Ethics (2nd ed.). John Wiley & Sons.  Litigation Case Study Essay Example

Work With US!

Order your high-quality Nursing Paper that Meet University Standards and get it delivered before your deadlines. 

+1 631-259-7728
WhatsApp chat +1 631-259-7728