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Nurses have an important role in helping surgical patients

Nurses are some of the most underappreciated staff at hospitals and in other care facilities. These individuals do much of the heavy lifting, and they help prepare surgeons for the operating room. Nurses provide a service that is unmatched by others in the field, but that means they have to be held responsible if they make errors.

Nurses matter because they are there for patients. They're often the first faces patients see and the last. The way a nurse treats a patient sets a standard. The nurse listens to patient complaints and concerns and is meant to relay those to the surgeon, who often does not have time to spend his or her rounds with patients for any length of time.

Nurses have an important role before, during and after surgeries. Mistakes made at any point could put a patient at risk. For example, failing to update a patient's information to show an allergic reaction to an administered medication could lead to complications down the line. Not changing a patient's dressings could lead to infection. Not listening to post-operative concerns can mean a patient feels he or she is worrying for no reason when he or she really should be getting help from a medical provider.

If a nurse doesn't take his or her job seriously, then a patient has every right to complain and seek help for medical malpractice. Failing to perform duties to a reasonable standard is the basis for each medical malpractice claim. If failing to perform a job leads to injuries, then a patient has every right to pursue the case.

Source: San Francisco Examiner, "Why the nurse matters," Dr. Kevin R. Stone, Aug. 27, 2017

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