We have seen various medical malpractice cases, from misdiagnosing an illness to committing a fatal mistake during surgery. One of the common forms of medical negligence that is seen in various hospitals is understaffing.
Understaffing can increase the risk of patients experiencing a critical condition in emergencies. Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, LLP can help you bring such negligent hospitals to light and get you the compensation you deserve.
What is understaffing?
When a healthcare facility is understaffed, it does not have enough employees or medical providers to care for all the patients in the hospital. This may refer to a shortage of doctors, nurses, or other hospital staff.
How does inadequate nursing staff pose a danger?
When the nurse-to-patient ratio is insufficient, it can pose risks and cause injuries that would be otherwise preventable. Such cases can cause not only temporary but permanent and fatal injuries.
Let us look at the ways understaffing can affect patients.
- Failure to monitor patients.
Nurses must periodically check on the patients. Checking whether they are at risk or not, their medications, their records, and noting the time when their friends or family visit them are some of their duties. When the number of nurses is not enough for the number of patients, these periodic vital checks spread out. Such a situation can cause delays in reaction by the medical staff.
- Medication errors.
Nurses must assign medications to every patient. The treating physician usually prescribes these medications, but it is the nurse’s responsibility to double-check if the medicine and the dosage are right for the patient’s condition. When a single nurse is responsible for too many patients, they will likely forget or skip the double-checking part.
- No bed checks.
No matter why a patient is in the hospital, a nurse should regularly visit their bed and check on them. This may include medications, meals, and ensuring that the person is actually on their bed (especially in Alzheimer’s patients). When nurses do not pay attention to the patients, their daily needs may not be met, potentially harming their health.
- Not communicating with other healthcare staff and the patient.
A nurse needs to communicate with the doctors and physicians. Communicating with the patient is also essential to understand their needs and to know whether they are experiencing issues. A nurse who does not have the adequate time required to care for each patient may not deliver messages to the doctors.
When we go to the hospital, we blindly trust the medical facility to treat us. It can be disappointing and heartbreaking to come out of the hospital feeling worse than before. Fortunately, you can take legal action against such acts.