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Medical negligence could include hospital understaffing


According to a recent report from the Bronx, a 30-year-old man who arrived at the St. Barnabas Hospital emergency room around 10 p.m. was found dead eight hours later after apparently not being seen by medical staff members after his initial arrival.

A staff member took the man's vital signs when he first arrived complaining of a rash. He was apparently told to wait in the ER waiting room until his name was called. Unfortunately, he was found dead in a chair in the waiting room the next morning around 6:40.

Hospital officials say the man's name was called around 12:30 a.m. but he failed to respond. He was called again later to see a doctor but also did not respond. A video showed the man was still alive until at least 3:45 am. An unidentified employee, however, has said hospital staff members did not check on the man in person. The anonymous staff members expressed the belief that he died because the hospital lacks an adequate number of staff to address patient needs.

In general, hospital negligence stems from misdiagnosis, anesthesia error or surgical error. If a hospital fails to check a patient on time because it lacks staff to care for patients, should that be considered medical negligence?

In Connecticut, any patient who complains about a health issue, whether it is later deemed serious or minor, should be checked without delay. As the Bronx case demonstrates, delaying treatment could have tragic results.

The same goes for hospitals without enough staff to tend to patients. Hospitals are required to guarantee a sufficient number of personnel on duty to maintain quality patient care. If a hospital fails, it could face serious liability issues. Those liabilities are likely to be exposed if the victim's family files a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Source: CBS News, " Man found dead in NYC hospital waiting room more than 8 hours after entering," Michelle Castillo, Jan. 27, 2014

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