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Nurse practitioners and medical malpractice claims

On Behalf of | Oct 4, 2023 | Regulatory & Other Items

Medical malpractice remains a serious concern for those who seek assistance from a healthcare provider. If a doctor misdiagnoses a serious problem, it can lead to complications and worsen a patient’s health. Often, people assume doctors and hospitals are the main defendants in an Illinois medical malpractice lawsuit, but that is not always the case. Nurse practitioners (NPs) could also be liable for harm if they cause injury.

Why the increase?

The NSO and CNA’s Nurse Practitioner Claim Report pointed to a rise in aging services claims against nurse practitioners. Per the report, 66% of claims in 2022 centered on NPs involved with adult gerontology and family primary care. Professional liability claims in 2022 increased by 10.5% over 2017’s figures.

One reason for the increase in claims against nurse practitioners is that more people are joining the profession. With more people working as nurse practitioners, the potential for more medical malpractice claims rises. Also, a shortage of primary care physicians might result in additional patients seeing NPs instead of doctors, which may put them at risk for malpractice claims.

Malpractice and negligence

Whether an NP or a primary care physician faces accusations of medical malpractice, negligence serves as the basis for the claim. Negligence could take many forms, including an NP prescribing a patient the wrong medication. The NP’s employer could face negligence claims if they did not address complaints about incompetence or other performance issues.

A medical malpractice claim could result in compensatory and punitive damages. Certain malpractice cases may involve a patient’s wrongful death. Often, an insurance settlement might close the matter for plaintiffs seeking compensation for harm and losses.