Not enough staff on hand is a common problem across many industries. For example, getting your server’s attention to order your meal or finding an employee to help you in a retail store may take forever. However, when there are staffing issues in a hospital or medical facility, it can be dangerous or deadly. Unfortunately, understaffing in hospitals has been a prevalent issue for a long time. Since hospitals function like businesses, some facilities try to minimize staff to cut costs and increase profits. If this cost-cutting strategy is shown to cause injury or cost lives, those affected may be able to take legal action.
How Staffing Problems Can Cause Injuries
Poor staffing is a critical concern for most hospitals, nursing homes, and other medical facilities. There is a shortage of registered nurses and technicians, but there is also a limited budget from which medical facilities can hire qualified nurses. Some of the ways poor staffing can lead to malpractice include:
Failure to Monitor a Patient’s Vitals
Nurses periodically check on patients to measure their vital signs, take notes, and record the time they visited the patient. They may also ask a patient how they feel to gauge recovery, and those results are then shared with the treating physician. When a nurse has a high patient load, those vital checks are spread out much further than they should be. That increases the chance that a nurse may not quickly discover a change in a patient’s condition, resulting in a delayed reaction by medical staff and possibly more injury to the patient.
When nurses are overworked and have too many patients to manage, they still have to administer medications to each patient. A nurse should always double-check the medication to ensure it is the correct dose and proper treatment for that patient. If a nurse has more patients than they can manage, they don’t have time to double-check every prescription and may accidentally make a medication error. A medication error can be giving a patient the wrong dose of medication, giving them the wrong medication, or even failing to administer it.
These errors can be fatal. For example, failing to give the proper antibiotic dosage could allow an infection to spread rapidly, leading to septic shock and possibly death.
Who is at Fault for the Malpractice?
When malpractice occurs, the first person held responsible is the one that made the error. However, when inadequate staffing issues cause these deadly mistakes, the hospital or medical facility could also be held liable. If a hospital has a low nurse-to-patient ratio and a patient suffers injury or death, the hospital could be found negligent. Hospitals know they need to staff enough nurses per patient, and failing to do so means they did not provide the acceptable standard of care expected by a patient. The victim or their loved ones may be entitled to compensation under the law. Compensation can include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Contact The Snyder Law Group Today
The Snyder Law Group, LLC, proudly represents clients throughout Maryland and Washington, D.C. Our experienced Baltimore attorneys understand the frustration that comes with an insurance company, medical professional, or other party that refuses to accept liability for negligent or reckless behavior. You can take heart in knowing there are talented and experienced lawyers ready to work for you. We are experienced in handling personal injury claims of medical malpractice or injury resulting from serious car and truck accidents, and have secured hundreds of millions in verdicts and settlements. Please visit our website, www.410thefirm.com, or call us at 410-843-3476, for more information. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.