Weekend Hospitalization Alerts Certified Legal Nurse Consultants to Increased Risk of Medical Malpractice

Registered nurses working RN hospital jobs know that weekends and holidays are terrible times to be admitted to a hospital – whether for a life-threatening condition or simply for observation.

Indeed, a study from a University of California researcher found there is a 20% increased likelihood of a hospital-acquired complication when a patient is admitted on a weekend versus a weekday. Previous studies have also linked elevated mortality to weekends and holidays.

As a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant, you should educate your attorney-client (plaintiff or defense) on the issue of how the patient’s day of admission could have influenced the quality of care received. Weekends are often short-staffed and critical diagnostic testing may be put off until the following Monday (or even the first work day after a 3-day holiday weekend). Skeletal crews are common for holidays too.

As a plaintiff or defense legal nurse consultant you’ll want to assess the plaintiff’s date of admission to establish whether short-staffing contributed to a preventable complication. If you’re the plaintiff Certified Legal Nurse Consultant you’ll want to help the attorney-client draft interrogatories and requests for production regarding staffing and acuity levels. Also consider holidays, severe weather conditions, nurse absenteeism and use of agency nurses.

The “weekend effect” is real and a factor you’ll want to consider as a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant when evaluating all medical malpractice cases. After all, short staffing is a much more compelling deviation from the standards of care than an over-worked, underpaid RN’s isolated mistake.

I’m Just Sayin’

P.S. Comment and share your thoughts on why so much medical harm happens in hospitals on weekends and holidays.

2 thoughts on “Weekend Hospitalization Alerts Certified Legal Nurse Consultants to Increased Risk of Medical Malpractice

  1. I know working in a supervisory position on those short staffed holidays and weekends how many CNAs and nurses call in sick at the worst time. I was placed in the position to go in and work the floors to fill the need. Talk about not getting paid enough for a salaried position. I kept my head up because I knew my future would change for the best.
    So working the floor, tired and short of staff especially on a holiday, I did note how the staff lets down their guard and tries to cut corners…not on my watch! I was firm in my approach with short explanations with respect to all of us left short staffed. I didn’t care what they thought. Those helpless patients were going to get the care they deserved first and foremost.
    As I search through medical records as a CLNC® consultant and find the carelessness of nursing staff from a lawsuit perspective, it is quite shocking. I will say one thing. We had fun while we worked side by side and developed good memories with ourselves and our patients.

    My brother had diabetes type 1 since age five. He lived to 54 Y/O. Over the history of his life with this horrible disease, he eventually went into renal failure,
    subsequent dialysis, multiple amputations and on and on.
    On Memorial Day weekend, his graft for dialysis failed. He went to ER, was seen by an intern and had at least 18 attempts for IV access for dialysis in the neck…Such a tragedy that an MD from his vascular group did not want to come in and deal with the situation. A bad memory, but worth sharing to qualify Vickie’s statement.

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*The opinions and statements made by Vickie Milazzo, the founder of Medical-Legal Consulting Institute, Inc. are based on her experiences and expertise, should not be applied beyond the specific context provided, and do not guaranty or project actual results. Vickie Milazzo is no longer involved in the operations or management of the business, but is involved as an independent education consultant.

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