Nursing Mistakes and Liability

Case Study #10

A nursing assistant is helping a resident ack to his bed after toileting when he tells her he feels light-headed and thinks his blood sugar may be low.  After climbing back in bed, he checks his own blood glucose level using his glucose meter and finds that it is severely low.  The assistant presses the call button to summon the nurse.  The resident passes out.  The assistant calls out for help, but no one comes.  Seeing the resident’s insulin and syringe nearby, the assistant loads the syringe and injects the insulin into the subcutaneous fat of his stomach, as she has seen diabetic residents do.  Immediately after performing this action, the nurse on duty arrives.  Soon after, the patient, who is medically fragile, dies.

  1. What mistakes did the assistant make?
  2. Was the nursing assistant acting within her scope of practice in this incident?
  3. Will the facility be liable for the nursing assistant’s actions in this case?  Why or why not?

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