Injured while nursing due to understaffing...

by C
(Herrin, IL, USA)

I was working in a medium sized local hospital in a critical care area this night, and had 4-5 serious patients (I can't remember how many exactly, it has been 3 years). I had an assistant but I had to share her with another hall that had 2 nurses with it. They had no staff to help me.

I called 3 different people to help, 2 of them charge nurses. I had a rather large unruly patient that the day shift staff had left up in a chair, literally screaming at me to put him into bed. He had just had a major heart surgery and could not walk on his own. I called several times for help.

While in a room across the hall I saw the man stand up and start swaying. I ran and caught the man, all 310lbs of him, on my neck and back. This caused a disc to slip and from what I found out later, I have a bilateral pars defect making me hurt extremely bad instantly.

Finally, while I was screaming for help, some help arrived. Knowing something was wrong immediately, once again I called my supervisor. They brought me injury papers to fill out and I took some Motrin and had to finish the next 10hours of work due to lack of staff.

Next goes on with doctors appointments, pain, denials and such until I get a lawyer for the next 2 years. Now I have received a back fusion to fix the damage. But have found that I have permanent pain down my leg.

They have offered me a settlement from workman's compensation, that I am told is for 21 percent partial disability, but stating my company is not responsible for the pain I will have the rest of my life. I've not accepted the settlement as of yet and think it's a very low offer for making my life utter hell for the past few years.

I have since switched jobs twice to parts of nursing that I never wanted to do because of my pain. I still work for the company, just transferred to a smaller hospital and only was out of work for the surgery. I went back to work as soon as I could pass physical therapy.

I want to work, but will be on permanent medications for the damage that was caused, and now am starting to get depressed thinking that they can keep ruining nurses lives and getting away with unsafe practices. I will talk to my lawyer in the morning and am sure he will attempt to explain how I can only get such a small amount for an accident that should have never happened.

I kept the facility from having a "sentinel" event. Which would've cost them extremely in the long run. I guess I want to know, if there was nothing else I could've done, except let the patient fall, why am I the one being punished?

I have missed out on many things I used to enjoy. I can now do anything I could before but have to weigh every benefit/risk now. Example: I can mow my lawn but then I will have to take narcotics and be in bed the rest of the day.

This has affected everything from my confidence, to my children, to my traveling, my weight, to my sex life. Not to mention the countless sleepless nights because of pain. I just do not understand how they can get away with neglecting staffing ratios and letting people get hurt. Is there anything I can do? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Injured while nursing due to understaffing...":

C (Herrin, IL, USA):

It's our policy here at Injury Claim Coach not to interfere in the attorney-client relationship. To do so would be inappropriate. You ask what you should do. Our strong suggestion is to listen to the advice and counsel of your attorney.

Generally speaking, workers' compensation claims depend on the type and percentage of disability sustained by the worker. Workers injured on the job are evaluated by their primary treating physician. This occurs after the injured worker receives the medical care required to treat the specific injury and/or disability, whether partial or permanent.

While an injured worker depends on the medical evaluation of the primary treating physician, when the worker isn't satisfied with the physician's evaluation, the worker usually has a right to a second, and sometimes a third medical opinion.

Once a determination is finally agreed upon, compensation will be made according to the respective state's workers' compensation disability schedule.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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TYPE OF ACCIDENT
AUTO ACCIDENT
PERSONAL INJURY
WORKERS COMPENSATION
MEDICAL ERROR
YES! I WANT FAIR COMPENSATION