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Florida Wrongful Death Lawsuit Focuses on Use of “Fill-In” Nurses in Hospitals

The family of William T. Fain, 80, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Westside Regional Medical Center. Fain was admitted to the hospital’s ER on Super Bowl Sunday in 2006 after having a seizure. Hospital doctors told nurses to take him to the intensive care unit and to make sure that he didn’t fall off the bed. The nurses were ordered to lower the bed, install bedrails, and frequently check on him. The agency nurse monitoring Fain did not follow these orders. Soon after kissing family members goodbye for the night, Fain was found on the floor after falling off the bed. He sustained brain damage from hitting his head and died two weeks after the fall. The family alleges that the fact that agency nurses are unfamiliar with or do not follow hospital procedures is an issue at Westside Regional. The hospital has responded to this accusation by stating its confidence in the care that the nurses at the hospital provides. Nightingale Nurses is the staffing agency that provided the agency nurse to the hospital. Agency nurses are being used more often to staff hospitals because of the shortage of full-time nurses. In two hospital surveys conducted in 2007, results showed that 10% of nursing posts are vacant. This does not take into account the fact that many hospitals reportedly wish that they could hire more nurses than the number of posts that their budgets allow. About 1 out of every 8 nurses working in Florida is a fill-in nurse. The Florida Hospital Association has acknowledged the downside of employing someone who is only a temporary worker and not a permanent part of an organization. It also, however, noted that hiring a temporary nurse is better than being understaffed. The use of agency nurses is reportedly an even more common practice at hospices and in the home health service. Problems that can arise with fill-in nurses include: • They may be unfamiliar with the facility, its policies and procedures. • Because they don't always work with a patient regularly, they may not notice when there has been a change in the patient's condition. Groups who represent Florida nurses are supporting bills that would obligate Florida hospitals to report staffing levels, including nurse-to-patient ratios. They are hoping that such a mandate would improve work conditions for nurses and provide better care for patients. Our Florida personal injury law firm handles wrongful death cases as well as claims and lawsuits involving medical malpractice. Related Web Resources: Westside Regional Medical Center Nightingale Nurses To schedule your free consultation, contact The Law Office of John D. Ameen, P.A. today.

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