Did you know that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States following cancer and heart disease? According to a John Hopkins study, more than 250,000 people die from medical errors each year.
Could overworked nurses be a contributor to some of these terrible hospital accidents?
When a person comes to the hospital, they should be able to trust that the staff will adequately take care of them. This is usually the case, but often nurses are stretched thin causing anxiety, stress, and exhaustion that can lead to errors.
Hospitals across the nation have cut back on their staff, causing current nurses to work unreasonable hours. In some facilities, a nurse could have up to seven intensive care unit patients to take care of when it used to be two patients to one nurse. These overworked nurses often don’t receive a lunch or bathroom break, which is unacceptable.
These types of working conditions can cause even the most competent nurse to make an error. Several studies have found links between higher rates of pneumonia or urinary tract infections, and other safety issues, among patients care for by overworked nurses.
Below are other types of errors that could possibly occur due to overworked nurses:
- Infections because there was no time for the nurse to adequately wash their hands.
- Improper tubing and medication mistakes due to fatigue and cloudy judgment.
- Backed up emergency rooms with not enough staff to adequately take care of injured or sick individuals in a timely manner.
- Patients falling out of bed due to growing tired of waiting on a nurse for help.
Before leaving a loved one in the hospital, ask questions and investigate who the nurses are, how the workload is divided, and how many patients are assigned to a single nurse. Contact a medical malpractice attorney if you believe medical negligence injured you or a loved one.