Understaffed Hospitals: Increased Risk for Patients?

Written by on December 31, 2013 in Health - No comments | Print this page

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Understaffed Hospitals

Understaffed Hospitals

In 2007, the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey released a study that indicated that patients who were admitted to the hospital on Saturday or Sunday had a 1 percent higher risk of dying than those who were admitted on a weekday.

Although this might not sound like a serious number, it is indicative of the many problems that can be caused by an understaffed hospital. After all, it is never acceptable for people to die or suffer improper care simply because there were not enough people on staff to properly treat them.

What Issues do Understaffed Hospitals Face?

If you are admitted to an understaffed hospital, your wait time to receive medical treatment and any necessary assistance is going to be longer. This can dramatically decrease each patient’s quality of life while they are hospitalized, and it can also lead to a significant increase in complaints.

Additionally, hospitals that are understaffed on a regular basis are typically forced to schedule each employee for longer shifts, and this can be catastrophic because fatigue dulls everyone’s ability to make wise decisions and work efficiently.

In other words, if your doctor is working their third double in a row, they are much less likely to catch a minor abnormality that would have otherwise tipped them off to a rare medical condition.

Additional Problems that can Negatively Impact Patients

If there are not enough people on staff, the odds are high that patients who need assistance doing things such as getting to the bathroom will end up experiencing discomfort because they will not be able to get someone’s attention quickly enough. It is also more common in understaffed hospitals for patients to wait an extended period of time to get an accurate diagnosis.

Tragically, staffing issues also lead to unnecessary fatalities. After all, if there are not enough staff members to go around, they cannot possibly attend to every emergency patient at the same time. Patients who have been admitted to understaffed hospitals are also more likely to deal with medication issues, including inconsistent time frames and accidental exposure to drugs that they are allergic to.

Dealing with Malpractice Issues

Although many patients who are treated at a hospital that is understaffed will end up receiving an adequate level of care, there is always the risk that the negligence of a medical professional will end up causing you to deal with an unnecessary illness or injury.

One Orlando medical malpractice attorney group states there is a case of malpractice when “A doctor misdiagnoses an illness or delays in diagnosing you correctly when any reasonable physician would have done something different.”

If this happens, you should strongly consider contacting a medical malpractice attorney to help you take legal action. An experienced lawyer will be able to assist you with the process of building a viable lawsuit so that you can receive financial compensation for the issue that was caused by the hospital’s negligence.

Unfortunately, it is difficult for most patients to know whether or not a hospital is adequately staffed when they are admitted.

However, if you do not receive the high quality level of care that you deserve, you should definitely consider filing a complaint. Additionally, it is important to retain a malpractice attorney if your hospital stay has caused you to deal with extra medical issues.

Health advocate Lisa Coleman shares the possible increased risks that can accompany a patient when treated at a facility or hospital that is understaffed, including negligence. She recently read online how an Orlando medical malpractice attorney firm can help legally for a client when this has occurred.

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/codnewsroom/8637885419/

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