Cases of medical malpractice can occur for a number of reasons, from shoddy procedures to lack of communication and more.In some situations, medical malpractice may also be the result of hospital staffing issues, including nurse under staffing.
The Impact of Under staffing
According to an article in The New York Times, nurses are typically on the front line when it comes to a patient’s medical care. They are the first ones to respond to a person’s medical needs, document medical records and administer medications. However, this job can’t be done properly if there aren’t enough nurses on the floor.
The higher demands of paperwork along with the increasing complexity of patient cases means that the amount of time a nurse has for each patient is falling. Also, with hospitals facing more and more financial pressure, the nursing staff often takes a hit because it represents the largest expense for the hospital.
The Role of Nurses
Studies have demonstrated that each extra patient a nurse is responsible for, above the established nurse to patient ratio, increases the likelihood of one of the patients dying by seven percent. It is estimated that 20,000 people may pass away every year because of the under staffing and overworking of nurses.
Research has also shown that when a hospital has an adequate nursing staff, the number of patients that are injured because of a fall and the number of patients who acquire infections in the hospital is reduced significantly.
Recognition of the Importance of Adequate Nurse Staffing
Recognition of the importance of an adequate nurse to patient ratio has led to the creation of the Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act, which was passed in 2013. This, among other factors, requires that hospitals include their nursing staff levels on Medicare’s Hospital Compare website and also post the staffing levels in a location that is visible at every hospital.
Unfortunately, even with this act in place, medical malpractice issues related to the under staffing and overworking of nurses occurs all the time.
What You Can Do if You’re a Victim of Medical Malpractice
If you or someone you love is the victim of medical malpractice, you may be able to recover monetary compensation for the damages listed here:
- Pain and suffering
- Household services
- Permanent disability
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses
There is a statute of limitations in place limiting the amount of time you have to pursue a medical malpractice claim. In the state of Florida, this time limit can be as little as two years after the injury occurs. Because the specific length of the applicable statute of limitations in a medical malpractice lawsuit can be quite complicated and depends on the particular facts of the case, it is imperative to hire an attorney who understands Florida medical malpractice law.
If you need help or more information about filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, contact the attorneys at Hardesty, Tyde Green & Ashton by calling 904-249-9030. We can help you get the justice you deserve and the compensation you need.