Hospital Staffing Plays a Role in Reducing Medical Malpractice

Hospital Staffing Plays a Role in Reducing Medical Malpractice

Working as a nurse in the labor and delivery room can be extremely rewarding. Nurses provide critical care, as well as helping welcome newborns and experiencing one of life’s most rewarding moments with a family. However, when something goes wrong, or a mistake is made, the result may be tragic.

Chronic issues such as under-staffing, poor hospital management, and burnout can take a toll on even the best nurse and may lead to an increase in labor and delivery complications and mistakes.

A recent study showed that when nurses are forced to work double shifts, patient care suffers.  Nurses make mistakes they otherwise would not, they spend less time focusing on necessary patient care, and even wash their hands less frequently than if they worked a single shift.  As a result, the risks of an infant suffering a birth injury, or the mother contracting an infection, or any number of labor and delivery complications increases. 

Further similar to working long hours, when labor and delivery nurse are short-staffed, their attention may be divided, and patient care may suffer.  A nurse may not notice potential problems as quickly or be able to communicate complications as soon as they arise.  This may lead to potentially catastrophic maternal or fetal injuries.

Spreading a nurse too thin either with long hours, or lack of staffing can also create numerous communication concerns. In addition to having a potentially slower response to critical conditions, when a nurse’s attention is divided, ensuring the correct information gets to the proper person may present challenges. Further, communication demands may lead to diverting a nurse’s attention away from the patient. As such – the cycle of not enough bodies, nurses being pulled in various directions - may all lead to a chaotic and less than ideal labor and delivery experience for the mother. Many times, the way a hospital is managed creates these stressors on the nurses and departments.

Thus, when a birth injury occurs, it is crucial to look at not only individual errors, but hospital policies and procedures that may have increased the likelihood that grave consequences may result.

For more information or if you believe a hospital error may have harmed you or a loved one, please contact the dedicated California birth injury lawyers at Bostwick & Peterson, LLP for an immediate consultation.


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