Injuries Due to Understaffing in Hospitals

People seek medical attention at hospitals because they have a serious medical problem or medical emergency that needs to be addressed. No individual walks into a hospital expecting to suffer more injury than what they came in with. Unfortunately, this happens every day in hospitals across America. There are many ways that people can be harmed in hospitals, whether it be due to medication errors, inexperienced staff, overpopulated emergency rooms, or many other reasons. The bottom line is if a person suffers harm in a hospital and it is due to a preventable reason, it is considered to be negligence. 


One common occurrence in hospitals that create great risks for patient harm is hospital understaffing. While this is sadly a problem in many hospitals, when hospital understaffing leads to patient harm, both the hospital as a whole and the individuals involved can be considered liable for any injuries sustained as a result of hospital understaffing. 


Injuries Due to Understaffing


  • Brain damage due to delay in treatment of a stroke
  • Cardiac damage due to delay in treatment of a heart attack
  • Wrongful death due to many reasons surrounding hospital understaffing
  • Delay in diagnosis of serious conditions such as cancer, leading to death or metastasis of the cancer
  • Anaphylaxis due to a medication being administered to a patient with a known allergy to that medication
  • Organ damage
  • Infection due to rushed care and failure to properly adhere to clean or sterile technique 


How is Understaffing Medical Malpractice?


While understaffing in and of itself cannot necessarily be considered medical malpractice, when patients suffer harm as a result of understaffing, it can be considered medical malpractice. This is because patients are owed care and hospitals have a duty to provide that care. If there is a breach in the duty of care which results in patient harm, it is considered negligence. Therefore if understaffing is the underlying cause of an injury that a patient suffers due to the understaffing impeding the ability of healthcare providers to provide adequate care, this is a primary example of medical malpractice.


Example of errors made due to understaffing include the following:


  • Medication errors (overdosing, underdosing, wrong route, etc.)
  • Administration of a drug that a patient is allergic to
  • Delay in diagnosis or treatment of a medical emergency such as a heart attack or stroke
  • Failure to diagnose a serious medical condition due to rushed care as a result of understaffing
  • Failure to appropriately triage a patient due to staff members not taking adequate time to ensure that a patient is properly assessed
  • Surgical errors due to physician fatigue which can be due to physicians being overworked as a result of understaffing
  • Improper supervision of novice staff members due to understaffing
  • Failure to follow appropriate standards of care regarding infection control leading to preventable infections 


Get Help if Injuries Due to Understaffing in Hospitals Harmed You or a Loved One


If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed as a result of medical malpractice contact the Oregon Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Kuhlman Law at our number below or fill out the intake form.  We offer a free initial case evaluation and handle cases on a contingency fee which means that you pay no money unless we recover.


Our law firm handles cases throughout the state including Bend and Portland Oregon, Redmond, Central Oregon, Sisters, Madras, Multnomah County, Deschutes County, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Lane County, Medford, Gresham, La Grande, Albany, Medford, Beaverton, Umatilla, Pendleton,  Cottage Grove, Florence, Oregon City, Springfield, Keizer, Grants Pass, McMinnville, Tualatin, West Linn, Forest Grove, Wilsonville, Newberg, Roseburg, Lake Oswego, Klamath Falls, Happy Valley, Tigard, Ashland, Milwakie, Coos Bay, The Dalles,  St. Helens, Sherwood, Central Point, Canby, Troutdale, Hermiston, Silverton, Hood River, Newport, Prineville, Astoria, Tillamook, Lincoln City, Hillsboro, and Vancouver, Washington.


We also have an office in Minneapolis, Minnesota and take medical malpractice cases throughout the Twin Cities, including St. Paul, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Dakota County, Washington County, Anoka County, Scott County, Blaine, Stillwater, and Saint Paul Minnesota.

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