Friday, November 15, 2013
Worked to Death
CNN.com reported a story a couple of days ago about a man suing the hospital where is wife, a nurse, worked prior to her death. She was killed driving home after a 12-hour shift; you can see the whole store here. I'm very much against unions for nurses and against mandated staffing ratios and don't think that the article should have been used as an opportunity to push that agenda. Mandated ratios wouldn't have prevented this nurse's death.
However, could her death have been prevented by someone taking her stress and complaints seriously? Should the hospital or her co-workers have said wait - you can't work anymore? It makes me wonder how many times I have seen nurse colleagues working tons of hours and I can see how it's taking it's toll and we just keep letting them come into work.
The real issue is not how many patients we take care of, the issue is how many hours we can safely work.