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How Staffing Problems Can Result in Medical Malpractice

Written by Ankin Law Office

Medical malpractice can be caused by a number of reasons – inexperience, lack of communication, or shoddy procedures. And, in some cases, medical malpractice may be caused by hospital staffing problems, including nurse understaffing.

As this New York Times article shows, nurses are often at the front line of medical care. They are the first to respond to a patient’s medical needs, administer medication, and document medical records. But as the article’s author, a nurse, points out,we can’t do the first-alert part of our jobs if there aren’t enough of us on the floor. More demands for paperwork, along with increasing complexity of care, means the amount of time any one nurse has for all her patients is diminishing. And as hospitals face increasing financial pressure, nurse staffing often takes a hit, because nurses make up the biggest portion of any hospital’s labor costs.”

In fact, some research indicates that each extra patient for which a nurse is responsible above an established nurse-patient ratio increases the likelihood of patient death by 7 percent and that 20,000 people may die each year due to overworking and understaffing of nurses.

Conversely, research also shows that when hospitals are adequately staffed with bedside nurses, the number of patients injured by falls and the number of hospital-acquired infections declines.

Recognition of the importance of an adequate nurse-to-patient ratio lead to the introduction of the Registered Nurse Safe-Staffing Act of 2013, which, among other things, would require hospitals to include their nurse staffing levels on Medicare’s Hospital Compare website and post their staffing levels in a visible location within every hospital.

The Chicago medical malpractice attorneys at Ankin Law Office, LLC are dedicated to promoting patient safety through appropriate legislation and legal responsibility. We focus on representing the victims of medical malpractice in lawsuits against negligent doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers. We will undergo a comprehensive factual investigation to determine if a patient’s injury or death was the result of a hospital’s negligent staffing or inadequate training.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice you may be able to recover compensation for the following damages: medical expenses, lost wages, household services, pain and suffering, permanent disability, and disfigurement. The statute of limitations to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Illinois is generally two years from the incident. Because the legal issues involved with a medical malpractice lawsuit are complex, with several nuances, and depend on the particular facts of the incident, it is important to consult with an attorney who understands the medical field and the laws pertaining to medical malpractice.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice, contact our office at (312) 600-0000 to schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled Chicago medical malpractice attorneys.

Categories: Medical Malpractice