CAMLAW: Complementary and Alternative Medicine Law Blog

Negligent Supervision of Nurse by MD Basis for Successful Malpractice Lawsuit

Negligent supervision of non-physician health care providers (such as nurses) can be a basis for a medical malpractice (negligence)lawsuit, whether the therapy involved is conventional or complementary (alternative).

As noted, physician supervision requirements can make delivery of medical spa therapies expensive. Supervision can also help reduce malpractice liability risk.

And it's useful to track cases involving conventional medicine and negligence based on allegedly negligent failure to supervise a non-physician employee, as the same principles can apply when dealing with a medical spa or an integrative medicine clinic that incorporates, say, acupuncture, chiropractic, and natural medicine (dietary supplements).

Jury sides against doctor with $1.5 million verdict: Suit alleged he failed to properly supervise nurse reports on a relevant lawsuit: the patient received some kind of injection for chronic back pain.

The suit alleged that the physician was negligent in training and supervision, and that the advanced practice registered nurse performed below standards when administering the injection, allegedly causing one of the patient's lungs to collapse.

The newspaper account doesn't report whether the exact nature of the injection, but it is known that there are reported lawsuits involved pneumothorax - lung-bursting - from acupuncture, constituting one of the known (but rare) grounds for acupuncture malpractice.

The claim here is, of course, direct liability for failure to properly supervise -- as opposed to vicarious liability (liability going up and down the chain of providers) based on an agency theory.

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