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LEGAL RESPONSIBILITY OF A NURSE

To prevent the legal issues, it is very necessary for nurses to follow some responsibilities.
The main areas to prevent legal issues are:

Legal responsibility of a nurse during admission and discharge of Medico Legal Case (MLC)
While providing nursing care in any medico legal case nurse must take care of following thigs:

  • After receiving the patient from OPD to ward, immediately inform the doctor on duty of that unit.
  • All the records of patient like OPD slip, admission slip, admission files must be kept under lock and key to prevent legal issues.
  • It is nurse responsibility not to show the patients records to anybody.
  • It is nurse responsibility not to show or hand over to any police personnel.
  • It is also a nurse responsibility not to throw any discharge of patient without the permission of physician.
  • Nurse should keep the belonging of the patient in her custody.
  • Take consent of relative or patient for any kind of procedure or treatment.
  • Avoid answering enquirers to an insurance agent.
  • The condition of patient should be reported verbally to relatives.
  • Maintain all records of the patient accurately
Responsibility of nurse during the discharge of patient
  • On discharge, no record should be handed over to the police by nurse.
  • Entered clearly, if patient is transferred to another ward or hospital.
  • Before allowing the patient to leave the hospital, nurse should clearly enter or write the name of relatives of the patient.
  • It is nurse responsibility to keep all the records concerning to patient under lock and key after discharge of the patient.
In case of death of the patient
After death of the patient, if patient is medico legal nurse must get written instruction from the medical officer for handing over the body of the person to mortuary/police officer.
  • Note complete name and address of patient.
  • Note identification number.
  • Signature of witness.
  • Note list of belongings of the patients.
  • Maintain privacy and give full respect to dead body.
Legal responsibility of a nurse in Admission and Discharge of mentally ill patients
  • As per Indian Mental Health Act 1987 major patient (mental ill) gets admitted on a voluntary adult basis.
  • After admission, nurse should check the application form for admission is accompanied by report of two medical officers out of which one should be government doctor.
Responsibilities during discharge of mentally ill persons
  • Check the signature of patient or relative after discharge of the patient.
  • Note permanent and correspondence address of patient.
Responsibilities of a nurse in case of absconding of patient
  • Check  the number of patients admitted with actual number of patients present in the ward while handing over and taking over charges from one nurse to another.
  • Inform immediately to in-charge of the unit and keep the record of patient under lock and key.
Responsibilities of a nurse during examination of a female patient
  • It is nurses responsibility to maintain the privacy of female patient during the examination.
  • Nurse must present during the examination.
  • Little exposure of patient is to be made.
  • Protect the right of the patient during examination of female patients.
  • It is nurse responsibility to discourage if repeated examination of breast/perineal part by the male doctor.
Legal responsibilities of a nurse while administrating medication
  • Keep in mind 5k while administering medication.
  • Follow only written order of physician.
  • Strict monitoring of medicines especially one which change the chemistry of blood.
  • Medicine containers must be properly labelled.
Legal Responsibilities during sterilization and abortion
For permanent sterilization, it is essential to
  • Get informed consent signed by both (husband and wife).
  • Eugenic sterilization to prevent procreation of unfit such as mentally retarded, mentally ill, habitual criminal and sexual deviates is prescribed in some part of the world. But each case is taken independently.
Legal responsibilities of a nurse during organ transplant
As a nurse, she should be aware that an uninformed donor prepared under sedation for removal of any part is criminal in the court of law. So it is nurse's responsibility to get the consent signed by relatives as per the desire of the deceased.



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