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Study says overstressed nurses prone to making medical mistakes

| Jun 2, 2021 | Medical Malpractice |

Pennsylvanians place their health, well-being and often their entire lives in the hands of medical professionals when they seek treatment for an illness, injury or condition. While most think about doctors providing proper care, there are other links in the chain in medical clinics, doctor’s offices and hospitals. Nurses are a key part of the process. Although most in the healthcare industry are vigilant and focus on their jobs, mistakes happen. When those mistakes result in injuries, a worsened condition or death, it is imperative for those who have been impacted to understand how and why it happened. This can be crucial when weighing options.

Anxiety, stress and other challenges may spark nursing errors

A recent study indicates that nurses might be making errors because they are overstressed. In the Ohio State University College of Nursing research, it was found that there has been a notable rise in critical care nurses expressing feelings of anxiety, being depressed and having overall poor health. This was connected to the number of medical errors they made. Just under 61% of nurses specializing in critical care admitted to making medical mistakes in the previous five years. Those who were in poor health had a statistically greater chance – by a good margin – of making errors than those who were in better health. Two-thirds who had a high stress score were in the category of mistakes in the previous five years compared to 56.5% of those who reported little to no stress.

If critical care nurses received support from organizations regarding their well-being, they achieved better outcomes. Preventable medical deaths are difficult to calculate because of reporting challenges and other factors, but a Yale study in 2020 showed it to be 7,150 per year. A study from the Journal of General Internal Medicine said it was triple that. Other studies show it to be exponentially worse. In the Ohio State study, health, workloads, and lack of support were major contributors to critical nurses making mistakes when compared to those with better records.

Possible nursing errors should be considered for medical malpractice claims

Doctors are not the only medical professionals who can commit medical malpractice and damage a patient. Whether it is giving the wrong medication, making a fundamental misstep during basic treatment, misidentifying a patient, causing an infection or other potential mistakes, those who have been harmed or lost a family member have the right to know what happened and why. For a full assessment and investigation, it may be wise to have experienced assistance to look at the evidence and consider how to proceed.