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UPMC Altoona Nurses Say Patient Safety Is Their Primary Concern

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Altoona recently underwent a change in ownership. Although the name of the hospital has changed several times over the years, nurses that have worked there for two decades or more said that this is the first change that has actually put the safety of patients at risk.These nurses took to the streets, braving the cold weather to improve the working conditions for themselves and more importantly their patients. The nurses went on strike, protesting with their co-workers and other concerned citizens. Despite being told that their temporary replacements were earning $20 more per hour than they were paid, they continued to battle, refusing to cross the line and play a role in lowering the standards of patient care and safety.How was the safety of patients being put at risk? These nurses said that the new working conditions can result in a robotic “series of tasks,” as one 22-year nursing veteran said. When this happens, nurses can “miss subtle changes in a patient’s condition that could be an early indicator of complications,” she said. Hospital errors such as these could be considered medical malpractice too.Even in cases where medical malpractice isn’t an issue, without “good ratios” of nurses to patients, the care becomes too clinical, removing the personal element. “You lose those one-on-one moments of caring and compassion, which is so important in nursing,” the veteran on strike told media sources.These nurses aren’t the only ones in Pennsylvania that put the interests of patients first. While a personal injury attorney can’t change the past, the attorney can help address the actions of the past with a goal of helping victims in a way that will better their future. This is accomplished by way of a civil lawsuit for damages that compensate victims for the harm that they suffered.Source: Women News Network, “U.S.: Pennsylvania nurses strike for better work, patient care & safety,” Cameron Conaway, Feb. 13, 2014

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