An aging population in Ohio coupled with a shortage of primary care physicians has pushed up allegations of negligence against nurse practitioners (NPs). In a report from the Nurses Service Organization, risk analysts suggested that complaints about NPs went up from 2017 to 2022 due to an increase in the number of elderly patients and a decline in primary care physicians to attend them. This situation has left NPs to fill the void.
Types of complaints
If you or your elderly loved one has had a negative outcome from medical services, you likely had a problem with diagnosis or medication. The bulk of medical malpractice claims aimed at NPs working in family care or gerontology cited failures to diagnose and shortcomings with medication prescriptions.
Diagnostic errors often arose from failing to notice pressure sores before they become serious and difficult to treat. Pressure sores, or bed sores, inflict pain and lead to infection. Prescriptions for anticoagulants or pain medications also represented a recurring source of harm for patients.
Consequences for elderly patients
As you age, you become more vulnerable to health problems and injuries due to poor eyesight or muscle weakness. Insufficient or erroneous medical care can result in serious medication side effects and loss of mobility. If the mistakes permanently harm you, then your risk of social isolation goes up due to your worsened condition. If you can no longer engage in normal activities, depression becomes a real threat.
NPs may be overburdened
Due to the doctor shortage, NPs increasingly bear the responsibility of making sure that you receive appropriate care. To help you, an NP must accurately diagnose your condition and manage medication so that it remains therapeutic instead of counterproductive.