Are Hospitals Protecting Nurses from Injuries?
Recently, National Public Radio had an interesting report about how many hospitals across the country are failing to protect nurses from injuries.
NPR interviewed one Philadelphia nurse who suffered a severe back injury when she was working in 2010. The woman claims that a patient weighing more than 300 pounds fell on the floor, which resulted in her helping coworkers in picking the patient up.
When she was attempting to help lift the patient, the woman felt several pops in her back, but she continued to work for the rest of her shift. After going home and awaking later the next day, her husband found her crawling on the ground in pain, as she could not walk.
The woman damaged a disk in her back so badly that she later needed to get surgery requiring her spine to be fused using a metal cage and screws. “I can finally walk and sit again without being in excruciating pain,” the woman said, according to NPR. “But the career I had as a floor nurse is over.”
NPR reported that the woman’s story is all too familiar in nursing. Surveys by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicate that there are more than 35,000 injuries among nursing employees every year, with many so severe that people are no longer able to work. The number one cause of these injuries is employees moving and lifting patients.
Sadly, representatives with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) say that Congress has limited their powers when it comes to protecting hospital workers from injuries. Additionally, NPR reported that many hospital executives are aware of the dangers faced by nurses, but have done nothing to implement safety procedures.
Other industries limit employees from lifting items weighing more than 35 pounds. However, nurses lift far heavier patients a dozen or more times every day, with many hospitals having little to no safety policies in place.
To read the NPR report, which is extremely detailed, you can click on the source link below. There are several interviews with nurses and healthcare professionals about the ongoing safety issues nurses face on the job.
Nursing Injuries Can Lead to Workers’ Compensation Claims
It is shocking that so many nurses are being put at risk for injuries, many of which can lead to missed time at work and expensive medical bills. Some severe back injuries, like the one the nurse describes above, can lead to operations, leaving someone permanently unable to return to the job. This is incredibly sad for professionals who have gone to school and trained many years to help people in hospital settings.
If you are a nurse who has suffered a workplace injury, you may want to look into collecting workers’ compensation benefits. Through workers’ compensation, you can obtain money for lost income, in addition to funding for medical care.
If you are looking at obtaining workers’ compensation, make sure you act quickly. There are limits on when you can file a claim following an injury.