Case Study: Malpractice Action Brought by Yolanda Pinellas

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Case Study: Malpractice Action Brought by Yolanda Pinellas

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Case Study: Malpractice Action Brought by Yolanda Pinellas

This case study involving Yolanda Pinellas is a typical example of malpractice that occurs in the medical context. Medical malpractice usually occurs when the medical expert fails to perform his/her roles effectively as expected and results in harm of the patient (Frakes & Jena, 2016). In this context, Yolanda Pinellas suffered from medical malpractice and ended up with an adverse experience because some standards of care were violated during her admission for the chemotherapy. The IV site infiltrated during the chemotherapy infusion, and this negatively affected Ms Pinellas weeks after being discharged from the hospital (Dwyer & Rutkowski, 2016). Her hand became necrotic, and she experienced a permanent loss of function in her third, fourth and fifth fingers. Yolanda being a music conductor, was unable to perform the role of the music conductor since her fingers had suffered a permanent function loss and deformity.


Based on the adverse outcomes, various questions may arise to assess the accountability of this malpractice. For instance, was the nursing team competent? Was suitable site selected for the chemotherapy infusion? Was the number of nursing staff enough to promote patients’ safety? Who should be accounted for the malpractice? Was the infusion equipment well-maintained?

Standards of Care

Based on the nursing ethics and code of conduct, all the nurses are required to conduct oneself responsibly and in accordance with the nursing code of conduct (Buppert, 2017). Besides, all the nurses are expected to conform to all the legal and moral standards to keep the nursing practice effective in society. Breaching of any of the nursing ethics is the leading cause of medical malpractice (Buppert, 2017). In Yolanda’s case, someone must have acted irresponsibly, and this must be the main cause of the malpractice that caused Yolanda to suffer weeks after being discharged. If the nurse who was assigned the duty of taking care of Ms Yolanda was responsible and caring, the malpractice would not have occurred. However, one would question the competence of the nurse, quality of care provided to Ms Pinella during and after the infusion, and if using peripheral IV site for chemotherapy was the best option provided that the central line was an option (Dwyer & Rutkowski, 2016). Also, one would question the individual who heard the IV pump beep, and the period the equipment was dislodged before being noticed.


Malpractice involves the breaching of duties by a professional due to intentional or unintentional reasons (Stamm et al., 2016). In other words, malpractice evaluates the responsibility, breach of duty, damages and possible causes (Buppert, 2017). If all these factors are evident in a situation, then malpractice has occurred. In this case, the nurse who was assigned the duty of administering the medicine to Ms Pinellas would have prevented this malpractice if she acted responsibly and took care of the patient throughout the chemotherapy session. Based on this malpractice, did this nurse act the same way any other nurse would have acted? I consider this to be a breach of duty and embraces irresponsibility in medical practice. If different precautions were taken, the damage would not occur, and Pinellas would not have suffered. Negligence of duty is, therefore, the leading cause of medical malpractice, and this was evident in Ms Pinellas’ case (Intrator et al., 2015).

Risk Management

The primary target of risk management in healthcare is usually to minimize and prevent all the potential risks and damages to patients in a medical set up (Stamm et al., 2016). In this case, the risk management team would have ensured that all the safety precautions were taken by the medical practitioners to reduce and prevent the possible risks to Pinellas. Based on the negative results, what interventions were implemented in order to avoid this incident from occurring? One would question if all the proposed interventions were followed and if such interventions would be applied to other patients too, and not just on Pinellas alone. Additionally, one would question the measures that the nurse, physician and hospital would have taken to mitigate the risk of an incident like the one that occurred to Ms Pinellas. Medical staff play a vital role in medical practice; therefore, risk management should regularly make changes to the team to enhance their competence.


Buppert, C. (2017). Nurse practitioner's business practice and legal guide. Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Dwyer, V., & Rutkowski, B. (2016). IV Infiltration and Extravasation: Prevention, Recognition, and Intervention. Journal of the Association for Vascular Access4(21), 253.

Frakes, M., & Jena, A. B. (2016). Does medical malpractice law improve health care quality?. Journal of public economics143, 142-158.

Intrator, O., Miller, E. A., Gadbois, E., Acquah, J. K., Makineni, R., & Tyler, D. (2015). Trends in nurse practitioner and physician assistant practice in nursing homes, 2000–2010. Health services research50(6), 1772-1786.

Stamm, J. A., Korzick, K. A., Beech, K., & Wood, K. E. (2016). Medical malpractice: reform for today's patients and clinicians. The American journal of medicine129(1), 20-25.
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