There are cases where patients die because there is no one to attend to their needs. This result when there is understaffing in a hospital and in these hospitals there are people who need more specialized treatment available in other places but do not get it and they die while still waiting it. The reason is that there are other patients who need the same and yet the number of staffs is limited.
There were, “a number of instances in which patients were not transferred to general hospitals on a timely basis but retained in infirmaries which were not adequately staffed or equipped to treat them; and in which patients needing acute medical care died in the State facility, during the ambulance trip to the hospital, or within 24 hours of admission to the hospital” (NYS Commission on Quality of Care, 1983) Studies that were done by AHRQ found that there is a relationship between mortality rate and staffing levels. It was found that mortality rate increases when nurses are few because the chances of sick people being rescued are slim.
The first study that was done found that there is likelihood of any additional surgical patient to die within a month of admission increase by 7 percent if they are added to one nurse. The second study that was done shown that mortality rate among AIDS victims is lower when nurse patient ratio is higher. “An increase of 0. 25 nurses per patient per day would produce 0. 20 percent decrease in 30 – day mortality (Stanton M. W. ) Sometimes it is not lack of enough staff in the hospitals that leads to the death of patients but it is the government’s failure to distribute them well across the country.
When an emergency occurs in one place, it is common to find hospital staff from other parts coming to lend a hand. This shows that there is lack of enough staff in the country. It is here that the question of whether there is enough staff in the country to attend to the needs of the people incase a disaster strikes. Every part of the country should have enough people who would take of the problem without raising alarm or asking for help unless the situation is out of proportion. This is what happened in 2003 during Black outs in the North East and during Katrina hurricane.
The nurses and hospitals were overwhelmed by the large number of casualties something that led the government to be questioned on its disaster preparedness. This situation might be considered to be a bit different as it is not something that happens in everyday but as per the 2006 survey done by American Hospital Association, there was shortage of hospital during that time. To add weight to the advantage of having enough and well distributed hospital staff is that the high mortality rate is reduced.
This was the conclusion that was reached by the Minnesota Evidence based Practice Center in its report on Registering Hospital Staff. Patients suffering from cardiac arrests, those suffering from pneumonia and other diseases are taken care of in good time. “The effect of increased registered nurse staffing on patient safety was strong and consistent in intensive care unit units and in surgical patients. Greater registered nurse hours spent on direct patient care were associated with decreased risk on hospital related death and shorter lengths of stay” (Anderson S. 2007)