The privatization of medicine has had some truly beneficial effects for the average citizen. For example, competition between doctors and hospitals leads to more investment in the best technology and continuing education. Where there is competition, there is potential for a higher standard of care and more drive for innovation.
However, the focus on profit and medicine has also had negative consequences for those who seek medical care. Many times, the desire to keep costs as low as possible to maximize profits can drive decision-making in a corporate hospital or medical practice. The end result is a focus on finances instead of the standard of care provided to patients.
This financial approach to medicine often means cutting corners in a way that could compromise the standard of patient care in a practice. Intentional understaffing is common in both nursing care facilities and in hospitals. Company policies may mandate having as few people working as is legally permissible given their patient load.
In both environments, understaffing can lead to neglect and other issues that can contribute to poor outcomes for patients. It can also be a driving factor in certain kinds of medical malpractice claims based on negligence.
Rushed staff may not spend adequate time with each patient
When there are only a handful of nurses, nurses aides and physician assistants available to provide care for an entire floor worth of patients, those medical professionals may only have a few minutes to allocate to each patient during their rounds.
This lack of time and staff can lead to medical professionals failing to notice changes in the condition of a patient or rushing a patient who is reporting serious symptoms. Overlooking serious concerns could lead to failure to note a potential interaction or allergic reaction to a medication before it causes damage.
Inattentive care to patients contributes to improper diagnosis, inaccurate treatments and worsening overall prognosis. Patients and their loved ones can pay the price for the neglect that results from understaffing.
Negligent care is one form of medical malpractice
When a hospital or medical facility places profits over the care that patients receive, it is often only a negative impact on their financial statement that changes such a destructive and dangerous policy.
By taking steps to hold a negligent medical provider or facility accountable for dangerous practices, such as intentionally understaffing, patients not only recover compensation for their own injuries but provide incentive for companies to adjust their medical practices.
If you believe that you or a loved one suffered unnecessarily as a result of understaffing or inadequate attention from medical professionals, it may be time to look into your rights to pursue a medical malpractice claim or lawsuit against the provider or the facility.