In New York and Pennsylvania, people who seek medical care expect the medical professionals and facilities will be competent and aboveboard in their treatment. Patients’ health can be jeopardized and their lives put at risk if the care and treatment is substandard.
Although those who have been harmed or lost a loved one because of a medical error will automatically think that the issue was due to a physician making a misstep, there are other factors. One is a lack of staffing. Those who were impacted should consider this as they decide how to move forward.
Recent health challenges led to fewer people working in the industry
The health crisis over the past few years affected every part of society. Many people who were working in health care lost their jobs or left on their own. Staffing levels have improved, but are still down by more than 1% from where they were in February 2020. This is a challenge because it not only places people in danger because of a lack of qualified care, but it extends their wait time for seeing doctors and receiving treatment. Medical professionals could be overextended and burnt out, causing avoidable mistakes.
Examples of problems that have come up because of lack of staffing include nursing homes seeing an increase in patients falling (17%), central line-associated bloodstream infections (28%) and pressure sores (42%). Surveys early in 2022 showed a rising number of medical professionals planned to leave health care. Facilities are reducing operating hours, narrowing the services they provide, or even closing entirely.
Labor costs are also causing facilities to cut back. In New York, one hospital system has adjusted how it cares for people depending on the severity of their condition. People’s conditions are believed to be worsening due to delays and outright postponements. It extends beyond physicians and nurses to nursing assistants, laboratory staff and nurse practitioners.
The entire case must be analyzed to determine if there was a medical mistake
After a patient has been unexpectedly injured, became ill or had a worsened condition, it is important that a full assessment be conducted. Perhaps tests that needed to be done were not completed; the doctors or nursing gave a patient the wrong medication; the patient was misidentified; there was an avoidable birth injury; or a lack of attention led to a patient’s illness getting worse.
The financial and personal implications are vast. Patients and their families might be under the impression that they got the proper care when they did not. Considering the options includes thinking about a medical malpractice claim. Consulting with professionals who understand how to investigate and accrue evidence is essential and should be done as soon as possible.