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Understaffed medical teams and patient risk

On Behalf of | Jan 12, 2023 | Medical Malpractice

As a patient in a Delaware hospital, you can expect quality care in accordance with state laws and accepted safety standards in the medical industry. It is not your responsibility to make sure nurses do their jobs right. It is not your responsibility to ensure a nurse has gotten adequate sleep or rest after so many work hours. Current data shows a possible connection between understaffed hospitals and the risk of patient injury.

Inadequate staffing can be problematic in many hospitals, perhaps including some in Delaware. Data also shows that nurses fatigued from overwork may experience cognitive delays, causing them to err and resulting in injuries to a patient. An example of this might be a nurse who is tired and administers the wrong medication to a patient and does not take safety precautions to confirm the correct medication.

Hospitals do not inform you of staff information

Unless you would ask specific questions, you would not have any way of knowing how many nurses are working a current shift in a Delaware hospital or how many hours each nurse has worked on a particular day. If understaffing is an issue at the hospital providing you care, you may be at risk for severe, even life-threatening injuries. At least half of all medical injuries are preventable, many of which are later determined to be an effect of nursing negligence.

Medical errors are the leading cause of injury and death to patients. What if a nurse assigned to your case takes a shortcut or disregards protocol because she or he is feeling overwhelmed and tired due to understaffing? In such cases, if injury occurs, a recovering patient may have grounds for filing a medical malpractice claim in a civil court.

Being proactive as a patient may help you avoid a medical disaster

Some doctors and nurses become irritated or frustrated when a patient asks questions. However, as a patient in a Delaware hospital, you may ask any questions you like and should receive sufficient answers so that you are comfortable entrusting your health to the medical team providing your care. If something doesn’t seem right, you may request a meeting with a physician or hospital administrator.

Suppose you or your child suffer an injury in a medical environment because of nursing negligence. In that case, there can be long-term and far-reaching implications, especially if a permanent injury results from substandard care. The good news is that support systems are in place, which you can tap into at any time, to help you seek justice if a medical team member’s negligence has caused your family physical, emotional or economic damages.