Exhaustion Leading to Nursing Mistakes

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Ohio Nurses are Exhausted

Our growing population has led to a serious nursing shortage – and the outcome is dangerous for any of us that step foot in a hospital.

In Northeast Ohio alone, one staffing agency predicts Ohio’s shortage of nurses will reach an all time high in the next 3 years – with up to 3,500 nurses needed. Currently, it is reported that in Northeast Ohio alone, there is a shortage of over 700 nurses. Our Ohio nurses are overworked, exhausted and have zero cap on the amount of time they must spend on a shift or shifts over a period of time. Nurses are required to work beyond their 12 hour shift, some have even faced reprimand for leaving. The bottom line: our nurses are exhausted and our lives and the lives of our loved ones are at stake!

Exhausted and Sick and Making Mistakes

When a nurse is required to work long hours and mandatory shifts despite being severely exhausted, they too get sick.  Exhaustion and illness play a huge role in medical mistakes.  In this scenario, the mistakes may actually be on the hands of the hospital system and not the individual.

The state of Ohio does not regulate or cap the amount of time a nursing shift can run in length, nor does state law specify how much time must be between shifts. A nurse may be required to return with only a few short hours between shifts, or asked to stay for 2-10 hours beyond their scheduled shift (which is commonly 12 hours).

Retail, trucking and the airline industry – hour and shift caps are in place! 

  • Truckers must keep a log book
  • Airline employees have an hour cap
  • Even our youth and underage workers must have a regulated schedule!

Many of us have been at a busy airport, only to have a flight cancelled because the crew had reached their max out time in a day. Why wouldn’t nurses be any different?

Mandatory overtime is outlawed in 18 other states, but Ohio just isn’t one of them.

The Repercussions of Putting Profit Before Care

While Ohio hospital systems are required to have staffing plans for nurses, particularly in a ‘bare bones’ employment scenario – Many argue the plans fail to recognize the shortage in general, and worse in critical care or emergency departments.  News Channel Five quotes Executive Director of Ohio Nurses , Lori Chovanak as saying she believes our hospitals are blatantly putting “profits ahead of patients”.

The Joint Commission on Hospital Accreditation, the organization that assigns quality ratings to hospital systems, is well aware of the widespread issue.  Their research reportedly indicates that after a 12.5 hour shift, the risk of mistakes is three times higher than a nurse working a routine shift.

Mistakes are reportedly the THIRD leading cause of deaths in medical settings.  That is easy math folks, and shifts should not exceed that timeframe!

I certainly wouldn’t want to be the individual in hour 13 of a shift, versus getting treated in hour 1.

Who is at fault?  If a nurse cannot say NO, without risking their career – Then the establishment is at fault.  Compassionate, caring and intelligent nurses are forced to work through exhaustion – Putting our lives at risk.

If you or a loved one was injured or died as a result of negligent nursing and exhaustion, you must contact my offices immediately.  We must rally to change the standard of care and poor expectations in our community.

As your Ohio medical malpractice attorney, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in in birth injurymedical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving ClevelandAkron/CantonColumbusDayton and neighboring communities. You can reach Tim by email at misnylaw.com/ask-tim-a-question/ or call at 877.944.4373.

Summary
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Exhaustion Leading to Nursing Mistakes
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Patients rely on the nursing staff as much, if not more, than doctors. Sadly, Ohio is one of many states that does not limit the number of overtime hours a nurse as to work. Nurses are not superhuman and mistakes happen because they are overworked and exhausted. The hospital systems are to blame...
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