How Often Is Hospital Understaffing Responsible for Medical Malpractice?

Posted on : July 31, 2019

Hospitals exist to care for the injured or ill when they are most vulnerable, so it can be truly shocking when you or someone you care about is hurt even worse after checking in. Doctors and nurses should be held responsible for their actions when they cause physical, emotional, and financial harm. Here’s what you need to know about hospital understaffing, its link to medical malpractice, and what you can do if you or a loved one were hurt as a result of medical negligence. 

The Understaffing Epidemic

Two surveys of nurses in Massachusetts and Michigan hospitals revealed alarming facts about understaffing. 85% of nurses suggested that patient care in their hospital was suffering due to being short-staffed. 25% of nurses said they knew of at least one patient who died as a result of their hospital being inadequately staffed. 

Critical Consequences of Understaffing 

Lack of adequate staffing in hospitals can result in devastating consequences for patients and their families. Common repercussions of short-staffing include but are not limited to: 

  • Malnutrition
  • Medication errors 
  • Falls due to lack of supervision 
  • Overdose 
  • Dehydration 
  • Infection 
  • Sepsis 
  • Death

Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, causing hundreds of thousands of people to lose their lives every year. The majority of medical malpractice caused by understaffing is preventable. 

How to Prove Medical Negligence 

There are a few elements that must be proven in a medical malpractice case to be considered eligible for compensation. First, you must establish that the physician owed you a duty of care. Then, you must prove that the physician breached their duty of care in a way that another physician with similar education and experience would not have. Finally, you need to be able to show that the breach of duty of care resulted in your injury and specific damages. If you can’t prove one or more of these elements, the hospital will have an easier time weakening your case. 

Should You Call a Personal Injury Lawyer? 

If you or a loved one were injured as a result of understaffing in a hospital, it’s important that you reach out to an experienced attorney as soon as you are able. At the Bourlon Law Firm, we know how frightening it can be to deal with injuries that are the result of medical malpractice. Contact our office today for a consultation at (361) 289-6040.