NURSES WORKED TO DEATH

SleepDeprivation0813As reported in edition.cnn.com/2013, Beth Jasper was killed while driving home after a 12-hour nursing shift. Her husband brought a wrongful death lawsuit against the hospital, claiming she was “worked to death,” and that the hospital knew about it. The lawsuit claimed the hospital was regularly understaffed, nurses worked through breaks, and were routinely called into work while off duty. Her husband said: “They can’t continue to work these nurses and expect them to pick up the slack because they don’t want to staff the hospitals.” Beth Jasper may have fallen asleep before her car veered off the road, jumped an embankment and struck a tree. During her final shift, according to the lawsuit, Beth Jasper told other nurses she was “really stressed” and “hadn’t eaten.”

National Nurses United claim that Staff shortages and overextended shifts for nurses are a nationwide issue in America. “Chronic understaffing is rampant throughout hospitals around the country,” said Bonnie Castillo, the union’s government relations director. “It is probably the single biggest issue facing nurses nowadays, and it’s not only affecting nurses, but patient health as well.”

Corporations treat nurses as if they are sheep in a pen, awaiting slaughter.

Another lawsuit (reported in bigclassaction.com, 2013). claimed that US Nursing Corp failed to adequately compensate California nursing staff that were sent to replace striking employees. ‘According to the lawsuit, when US Nursing deploys its employees around the country, it places them in hotels and requires them to take buses to and from the hospitals. But the company allegedly failed to pay the replacement nurses for the time they spent on the buses or for the time they spent waiting at the hospitals before and after their shifts. Additionally, the lawsuit claims the nursing company deducted a 30-minute meal break from its nurses’ time sheets regardless of whether the nurses actually recorded those periods on their sheets or not, and irrespective of whether the nurses were actually able to take the meal break’.

Corporations treat nurses as if they are sheep in a pen, awaiting slaughter.

In Pennsylvania, the idea of a “corporate negligence” claim was recognized by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in the Thompson v. Nason Hosp., 591 A.2d 703 (Pa. 1991) case, in which corporate negligence was defined:

‘Corporate negligence is a doctrine under which the hospital is liable if it fails to uphold the proper standard of care owed the patient, which is to ensure the patient’s safety and well-being while at the hospital. This theory of liability creates a nondelegable duty which the hospital owes directly to a patient. Therefore, an injured party does not have to rely on and establish the negligence of a [doctor or nurse].

The hospital’s duties have been classified into four general areas: (1) a duty to use reasonable care in the maintenance of safe and adequate facilities and equipment; (2) a duty to select and retain only competent physicians; (3) a duty to oversee all persons who practice medicine within its walls as to patient care; and (4) a duty to formulate, adopt and enforce adequate rules and policies to ensure quality care for the patients’.

How many UK hospitals fail to adopt ‘policies to ensure quality care for the patients’, by not employing enough staff, then flogging that staff to death? How many UK hospitals fail to employ competent staff?

Why has no UK trade union attempted to bring a class action against negligent hospitals, which abuse their members and patients alike? UK unions may ‘huff and puff’, but in reality are government-fearing cowards.

How much more is a failure to adopt ‘policies to ensure quality care for the patients’ the case in care homes for state funded residents?

Most nursing home neglect arises from either inadequate staffing or negligent hiring or supervision of staff, or both, so the real problem originates with the corporation itself, which should be addressed by “corporate negligence” claims.

Corporation-owned nursing homes for state funded clients are only interested in making money. Regional managers are awarded bonus payments related tpo profits made, not ensuring patients are well cared for. They routinely employ too few staff, and a poor quality of staff, working for the lowest wage, who all too often do not want to be there, but have been forced to work by the pressure put on benefits claimants.

Corporations should be made responsible for the care received by human beings in their charge.

Corporations treat nurses as if they are sheep in a pen, awaiting slaughter.

UK hospitals (soon to be owned by American corporations) treat nurses as if they are sheep in a pen, awaiting slaughter, but if nurses are prepared to put up with this, and are prepared to pay subscriptions to unions which bend their knees to corporations and government (the former controls the latter), then sheep they are, and will forever will be.

I will never tire of telling you this, in the hope that there may be a few who are not prepared to be treated so, and will form a nursing union of a militant tendency that will lead their colleagues out of the sheep pen they sleep in, awaiting slaughter.

Puppets of the Establishment, such as the RCN and UNISON, will not protect you.

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NURSES UNITE!
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7 thoughts on “NURSES WORKED TO DEATH

  1. Many of us say “There but for the grace of God go I” There were many times I would be driving home 21 miles from Salisbury to Romsey and suddenly find myself in Romsey thinking “How the hell did I get here” I had been driving on ‘automatic’
    12 hour shifts overnight on acute or high dependency units are too long. There is often nights where you just cant have a break. People ask me now how I can drink cold cups of tea. Well the tea was hot but when pts need you the tea waits.
    Even when you get home your mind doesn’t switch off, you fall into bed and a couple of hours later you sit bolt upright thinking to yourself ‘did I do abc or xyz’ often phoning in to check.
    I thoroughly enjoyed my 7 years at Salisbury but its hindsight that brings home the dangers I posed to; 1 to the patients the next night, 2, other staff, 3, the nurse, 4, other road users
    Police don’t work 12 hour shifts but have 3 x 8 hr shifts in 24 hours. Research over many years has highlighted the dangers but once again MONEY is king

    • It’s the same here in the states.

      You make some great points! I don’t live far from home, but, like you, I would find myself at a crossroads, driving home after a 12 hour night shift, and wondering where the heck i was. As you wrote, driving on automatic. Not good.

      My husband can tell you of the many times I sat straight up in bed in the middle of the night, crying out, “I think I forgot to sign off an admission order!”, or “What if the oncoming nurse didn’t really understand what I told her about Patient X?”

      Nursing was never a job I could leave at the door..

  2. Pingback: Words about nursing from across the sea: Nurses Worked to Death | guerrillanurse

  3. Nurses who left nursing- who suddenly went AWOL;
    Nurse Black who went to sell encyclopaedias door to door.
    Nurse Dug on his way to work , who turned round and went home.”I am having a coffee, I have had enough. and I’m not coming “.
    Nurse White who sat with his feet up on shift, lit a cigarette (some yrs ago), and told the manager who questioned him “It was the big goodbye “.
    Nurses who claim to have broken down (car) on their way to work.

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