Hospitals are designed to be of service to those who are sick. Therefore, if you are in urgent need of medical attention but find that the hospital to which you are admitted is understaffed or overwhelmed, this can be very worrying.
Unfortunately, understaffing in hospitals has been a problem for a long time. Since hospitals can function like businesses, some hospitals try to minimize staff to cut costs and increase profits. If this cost-cutting strategy can be shown to cause injury or cost lives, those affected may be able to take legal action.
To successfully gain damages, an affected person must make a medical malpractice claim. A medical malpractice claim needs to show that negligence occurred in the hospital and that this negligence directly led to the damages that occurred. The following is an overview of how under-staffing could be due to negligence and could cause damages.
What is negligence?
Negligence in hospitals can occur in two broad ways. First, negligence can occur on an individual level. It may be that one nurse failed in their duty to attentively monitor a patient and that they tragically did not notice that their condition was worsening.
Second, negligence could occur on a managerial level. If the hospital management failed in their duty to make sure that enough staff was present in the hospital when the number of patients was present, this could lead to patients not getting the assistance that they need.
What damages can occur as a result of under-staffing?
Under-staffing means that nurses and doctors are simply unable to provide adequate care to all of their patients. For example, patients who require urgent, life-saving surgery may need to wait for this because there are not enough surgeons available. Similarly, patients may not be monitored adequately by nurses because there are so many patients to care for.
The stress put on staff in these circumstances can lead to medication errors, infection, falls resulting from a lack of supervision, and dehydration.
If you or a loved one has been affected by poor medical care that you believe was due to under-staffing in a hospital, it is important that you hold the hospital accountable for their negligence. This could help to prevent this from happening to patients in the future.