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Can understaffing lead to negligence?

Data from England's University of Southampton confirmed what astute patients and their advocates have known all along: Hospitals with fewer registered nurses on staff experience higher mortality levels. It's logical to extrapolate that a dearth of nurses means that those who are working will not be able to deliver adequate care to their patients.

According to the university's principal research fellow, the research indicated that care that was not administered was the "missing link" to comprehend hospitals' death rate fluctuations.

Routine but vital patient care is neglected when a facility is short-staffed. For every increase of 10 percent of care left unrendered, there was an uptick of 16 percent in the chance of patients succumbing after routine surgeries.

The analysts documented missed nursing care by surveying nurses and surveilling patients. Among other considerations, they looked for:

  • Proper documentation
  • Adequate pain management
  • Timely administration of medications
  • Comforting patients

Education appears to matter as well. The study also revealed that medical facilities that employed more degreed registered nurses had lower mortality rates.

How could this affect you in a hospital? Suppose that the nurses are short-staffed and you don't get your scheduled bath. That bath would have revealed extensive bruising caused by the Coumadin they were giving you that was causing you to bleed internally. You could die if nobody notices this.

If you experienced a bad outcome or a worsened condition at a Boston hospital, it might have been due to understaffing issues. While each case is unique, it might be possible to seek compensation for your losses by filing a legal claim.

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