Hospital Injury Lawyers Memphis TN

Hospital Liability for Inadequate Staff-to-Patient RatiosA website run by the American Nurses Association called RNAction recently communicated an observation that has been supported by numerous medical, academic, and governmental studies. This frustrating observation notes that, “Inadequate nurse staffing levels… are linked to higher rates of patient falls, infections, medication errors, and even death. As a result of massive reductions in nursing budgets, combined with… a growing nursing shortage, fewer nurses work longer hours and care for sicker patients.”

Patient safety is clearly compromised when staff-to-patient ratios in hospitals are inadequate. This conclusion is well-documented. Unfortunately, as the RNAction quote illustrates, solving this particular patient safety challenge is a complex business. A vicious cycle tends to repeat when overworked nurses quit and the remaining nurses become even more overworked.

The question remains, until this cycle breaks at any given hospital, can those patients harmed by inadequate staffing hold hospitals accountable for the otherwise preventable injuries and illnesses they have suffered at the hands of overworked and understaffed nursing departments?

Duty of Care

Under the law, when an entity owes an individual a certain duty of care, that entity may generally be held accountable for breaking that duty by engaging in negligent, reckless or intentionally harmful conduct. In addition, a specific standard of care may also be breached by failing to act in ways that lead to harm. It is worth noting that these standards are complex and every case is different. As a result, it is generally a good idea for those who have suffered injury or illness to speak with an attorney rather than pointing to any specific standard as a “hard and fast” reason why they are entitled to compensation.

Hospitals do indeed owe their patients a certain duty of care. In addition, the physicians and nurses employed within any given hospital also owe patients a certain duty of care. As a result, patients harmed by the negligent conduct of an overworked nurse may be able to hold both the individual nurse and the hospital facility accountable, depending on the specific circumstances of the case. If the hospital was aware that its staffing levels presented a risk to patient safety, this reality will likely serve as compelling evidence that the hospital should be held at least partially liable for patient safety infractions that resulted in harm.

Answers to Legal Questions

If you or a loved one has suffered harm while registered as a patient at a hospital, please consider speaking with one of our hospital injury lawyers. Medical negligence claims can be difficult to navigate, partially because many patients are unsure of exactly what transpired at the time when they were injured or became ill. For example, any surgical patients are unconscious when they suffer as a result of negligent conduct and many patients who suffer otherwise preventable infections have few ways of knowing exactly how these infections were transmitted.

Speaking with one of our skilled hospital injury lawyers Memphis TN clients recommend can aid you in beginning your quest for answers and accountability. Not all medical negligence cases are resolved quickly, but with a trusted attorney guiding you through the process, you will be placed in the best possible position to obtain justice when possible.