Citing the deaths of three patients last month at Town & Country Hospital in Tampa, Florida’s Agency of Health Care Administration (AHCA) has issued a temporary order that bars the hospital’s surgical units from admitting new patients.
AHCA said it issued the emergency moratorium because the hospital failed to staff its surgical units with enough registered nurses. The hospital has been accused of assigning licensed practical nurses to fulfill duties normally reserved for more highly skilled and trained registered nurses.
Although the AHCA report did not pinpoint blame for the deaths on the staffing problem, it did say that hospital’s current failure to properly assign nurses in the surgical units puts prospective patients at immediate risk.
“The facts are clear that (Town & Country’s) nursing services in its medical surgical units are not meeting patient needs to the level required by law,” the report states. “These events are not isolated and have continued over a period of time.”
The report goes on to describe documentation and care problems associated with the three patients who recently died at the hospital. In one case, a patient complaining of chest pains was moved to intensive care some 20 minutes after a doctor had ordered it to be done immediately.
The report states that nurses at the hospital admitted that patient load “exceeds time and service capabilities of the staff.”
According to the Tampa Bay Times, the hospital has run afoul with regulators before. In 2011, the state fined the hospital after it was found that there were “significant time gaps” before emergency room nurses assessed patients after initial triage.
A hospital’s duty is clear and unequivocal – to care for those suffering from an injury or illness. Improper staffing and overworked nurses can lead to hospital errors than can further injure patients or even lead to death. If you or loved one has been a victim of subpar hospital care, the experienced Tampa hospital malpractice attorneys at Farah & Farah can outline your legal options. Call us at (800) 533-3555 for a free case consultation.