When most people think of medical malpractice, they probably think of doctor errors. However, nurses also bear the great responsibility of protecting patients from negative medical outcomes. A recent study suggests that nurse understaffing in hospitals is a factor that significantly raises the risk of patient injury.
The study looked at the medical information for 422,730 older patients who underwent surgery in 300 Western European hospitals. The findings of the study are reportedly like those of similar studies in the United States.
Researchers found that for every additional patient a single nurse cared for, the risk of death for patients in the given age group increased by 7 percent. The study examined data for patients aged 50 or older who spent between two and 30 days in a hospital for a common surgery.
The study also found that nurses’ having bachelor’s degrees significantly reduced the chance of surgical patients’ dying.
Maybe these findings aren’t all that surprising to Connecticut residents who have ever received treatment in a hospital. Nurses are responsible for patient care in a variety of ways, but, unfortunately, when hospitals decide to trim their budgets, a reduction in the nursing staff is often one of the first steps taken. Meanwhile, as the recent study suggests, patients run a higher risk of serious injury.
Undoubtedly, we would all prefer that a patient’s safety is guaranteed in a hospital, but that isn’t the reality in Connecticut or any other state. There are legal options, however, for receiving compensation for damages resulting from medical negligence. Such legal action may also deter other medical professionals from being negligent in the future.
Source: Medical Daily, “Hospital And Surgery Fears? Your Nurse’s College Degree and Lower Workload Just Might Save Your Life,” Susan Scutti, Feb. 25, 2014