James P. Howe

     Attorney At  Law   

36 South County Commons Way C6     

Wakefield, RI 02879     
(401) 788-0600    









         Neurology Malpractice Attorney, Neurology Malpractice Lawyer





Nursing error is responsible for killing and injuring thousands of patients every year due to overwhelmed and inadequately trained nurses as hospitals sacrifice safety for an improved overhead costs. The numbers relating to injuries from nursing error have surpassed 10,000 patients over the span of a decade; with almost 2,000 nursing error related deaths. At least 418 patients have been killed and 1,356 others injured by registered nurses operating infusion pumps, which regulate medicine flow.

In each of these nursing error cases the nurse either lacked the training to operate infusion pumps or claimed to be burdened with too many patients. Wrongful operation of infusion pumps can be done in several ways, and sometimes nurses punched in the wrong amount of medicine on the built-in touch pad. For example, an order for 8.7 milligrams of morphine could be entered as 87.0 milligrams. This is so common that nurses even have a term that relates to these types of calculation errors, "death by decimal."

Because hospitals are so understaffed, nursing error is usually the product of overworked nurses. To compensate for understaffing, hospitals often rely on machines with warning alarms to help monitor patients' vital signs. At least 216 patient deaths and 429 injuries by nursing error have occurred in hospitals where registered nurses failed to hear alarms built into lifesaving equipment, such as respirators and blood-oxygen monitors. One patient died while being overlooked of a heart attack even though a respiratory alarm sounded. A sole nurse, responsible for the nursing error, assigned to monitor 10 patients told federal investigators she did not hear the alarm because she was attending to another patient in distress.

Nursing error has occurred in at least 119 patient deaths and 564 injuries due to unlicensed, unregulated nurse aides. This is an additional toll not included in the statistics for registered nurses. Earning an average of $9 an hour, aides are used to augment staffing but sometimes step into the shoes of the higher-paid registered nurses. Almost a third of nursing staffs consist of aides, many of who are not required to have high school diplomas. Cost-saving programs in some hospitals have allowed the housekeeping staff assigned to clean rooms to take on duty as aides to dispense medicine.

Nationally, the number of reported nursing errors within hospitals has increased in each of the last five years, coinciding with an economic crisis that has left one of every four hospitals operating in the red, according to state and federal records.

After decades of spending by hospitals, managed care came in to change the backdrop of medicine. Hospitals turned to health-care consultants whose cost-cutting strategies consistently targeted each hospitals' largest expense, which is nurse staffing.

Nursing error is usually not the nurses fault per se, however professional healthcare services are responsible for providing patients with the best possible healthcare available, absent of nursing error. If you or a loved one have been the victim of nursing error and wish to seek compensation for your troubles and distress, contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer today.



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James P. Howe Law Offices
36 South County Commons Way C6, Wakefield RI 02879
Phone : (401) 788-0600   Fax: (401) 788-0605

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