Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Attorneys have long said that most hospitals, nursing homes, and rehab centers are severely understaffed, forcing their medical staff to work extended shifts with extensive patient loads and resulting in a reduced quality of patient care. Research backs up these claims and even shows that this practice of understaffing and overloading also has negative effects on the health and longevity of healthcare workers themselves! So nurses in New Jersey are doing what they can to force change.
Labor unions in New Jersey are currently pressuring state lawmakers to revise their minimum staffing requirements in healthcare facilities to lower patient-nurse ratios. The change, if instated, would be the first time since 1987 that staffing numbers in hospitals were addressed. Considering that patients numbers have risen tremendously in the last two decades, an increase in mandatory staffing numbers should be, at the very least, strongly considered.
According to a study published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurses (and techs and doctors) face a number of occupational hazards as a result of being overworked, including an increased risk of heart disease, increased risk of musculoskeletal disorders, hypertension, depression, chronic fatigue, irritability, insomnia, headaches, back pain, and weight gain. Many nurses interviewed also identified with various levels of burnout. According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, for every patient over four-per-nurse, risk of burnout increases by 23%. Each patient over four-per-nurse also carries with it an average decrease of 15% in job satisfaction, meaning healthcare workers are not the only victims of hospital understaffing.
A study published in the Journal of Nursing Administration illustrated a clear correlation between inadequate nurse staffing and poor patient outcomes. High patient-to-nurse ratios were often associated with an increase in medical errors, patient infections, bedsores, pneumonia, MRSA, cardiac arrest, and accidental death. A shocking statistic showed that every ONE additional patient added to a staff nurse’s patient load translated to a seven percent increase in hospital mortality. In a 2012 issue of the American Journal for Infection Control, patients treated by burnt out nurses suffered increased rates of urinary-tract and surgical-site infections.
After reviewing these statistics, it seems common sense to move forward with increased mandated staffing levels in hospitals, but hospital representatives question the results of these studies and argue that reducing a hospital’s flexibility to adjust nurse staffing could harm patient safety. (Or perhaps settling medical malpractice lawsuits is cheaper than paying more nurses.)
The medical malpractice attorneys at Messa & Associates are experienced in handling complex medical malpractice cases, including MRSA infections, surgical site infections, foreign objects, missed diagnoses, surgical errors, and treatment errors/negligence. If you or a loved one has fallen victim to medical negligence at a hospital, nursing home, or rehab facility, act quickly. Call a medical malpractice attorney from Messa & Associates today, before your rights to legal compensation have expired. Call 877-MessaLaw for a free consultation or submit an inquiry online for a free case evaluation.
Let the medical malpractice attorneys at Messa & Associates work to earn you the compensation you deserve.
Joseph L. Messa, Jr. is the founding partner of Messa & Associates, P.C. He is an AV-rated attorney (highest rating available), listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers. Read More