Understaffing is a perennial problem in most healthcare facilities. This is partly due to the shortage of qualified healthcare providers like nurses. It also happens when hospitals deliberately keep their workforce low to reduce operational costs while increasing their profits.
However, this cost management strategy can put patients’ lives at risk and lead to costly lawsuits. If you are charged with a nursing malpractice incident that is not your fault, it is important that you explore and exploit your defense options.
Two dangers of understaffing in hospitals
Understaffing, especially of nurses, can lead to medical malpractice in the following ways:
Poor patient monitoring
One of the primary responsibilities of the nursing staff is monitoring and recording the patient’s vital signs from time to time. They may also administer medication, track the patient’s recovery progress and share this information with the physician.
When a nurse has too many patients to attend to, they may have a difficult time checking each patient’s vitals in time. Consequently, the nurse might fail to notice a change in the patient’s condition, thus, resulting in injury to the patient.
Nurses are expected to double-check to be certain that each patient receives the right medication and dosage. However, when a nurse has more patients than they can manage, then medication errors are likely to happen. And when they do, the results can be devastating. For instance, overdosing on the patient can lead to serious injuries and even death. And so is administering the wrong medication or skipping the patient’s dose.
How do you defend yourself if you are facing a nursing malpractice charge?
If you are charged with nursing malpractice when you believe you shouldn’t be, it is important that you defend yourself. If the hospital is heavily understaffed, then it can be held liable for damages resulting from an overworked nurse’s mistakes.
A professional malpractice lawsuit can cost you your career and freedom. Find out how you can safeguard your rights and interests when facing a nursing malpractice claim in Pennsylvania.