What Happens When Hospitals Put Profits Over Patients
We trust hospitals and other medical facilities to put our health first. Unfortunately, patients can become victims of negligence when they don’t receive the quality of care they expect.
Recently, the New York Times, NBC News, and other outlets have reported widespread evidence of safety violations and malpractice in both nonprofit and for-profit hospitals. U.S. healthcare is a massive industry, with spending reaching $4.3 trillion in 2021. When profits are prioritized over patients, harm can occur. If you’re injured by medical malpractice, holding negligent facilities and providers legally accountable can help stop this practice.
How Do Profit Motives Contribute to Medical Malpractice?
Medical errors are a leading cause of death in the United States. These errors have several root causes, many of which are preventable. Unfortunately, cost-cutting in healthcare can contribute to errors and medical malpractice in several ways.
The lack of investment in essential equipment, technology, and staff training hinders healthcare providers’ ability to deliver optimal care. As a result, patients suffer the consequences of compromised quality, reduced access to innovative treatments, and prolonged wait times, further exacerbating their health conditions.
Understaffing and Lack of Training
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to massive staffing shortages across the healthcare system. Lack of adequately trained staff can contribute to negligence and have many negative consequences on patients, including higher rates of infections, falls, and increased chances of death, according to the American Association of Colleges in Nursing.
Even when hospitals have staff on the floor, the high burnout and turnover rate makes it difficult to ensure a consistent standard of training across departments. This can further increase the risk of harmful mistakes.
Premises and Equipment Negligence
In addition to patient negligence, facilities operating short-staffed can lead to procedures being performed using improperly maintained equipment. If the rooms, halls, and tools used in the facility aren’t kept clean, patients are at a greater risk of infection and other complications.
Failure to Monitor Patients
A patient’s medical issue may be more likely to go unnoticed in an understaffed hospital. For example, only a few states have a set nurse-to-patient ratio. When providers are overworked or forced to divide their attention between too many patients, they may be unable to deliver the proper level of care and be more likely to make an error. Prolonged wait times can further exacerbate an existing condition.
In some systems known as fee-for-service, healthcare providers are compensated based on the number of patients they see. In an effort to take more patients and therefore make more money, time constraints can lead to rushed visits and less-than-thorough exams. Patients who should be the focal point of care are rushed through the system, leading to missed diagnoses, delayed treatments, and other errors.
Conflicts of Interest
The relationship between healthcare providers and drug or medical device companies can be another contributing factor to malpractice. A company may offer financial incentives for a hospital to use its products. As evidenced by Purdue Pharma’s role in the opioid crisis, this can influence prescribing practices and treatment decisions. Profit-driven collusion can seriously endanger patients and put lives at risk. Patients deserve treatments based on their needs, not being manipulated by financial motives.
How Do We Hold Providers Accountable for Malpractice?
As medical malpractice attorneys, we can hold negligent hospitals and healthcare providers legally and financially accountable for the harm they cause when they prioritize profits. Medical malpractice claims offer recourse to malpractice victims and their families, as well as discourage further mistreatment of patients.
Medical malpractice claims can be complicated, but we’re passionate about fighting for victims and helping them get justice.
Hurt by Medical Malpractice? Call Atlee Hall Today
While profit motives can contribute to medical malpractice, factors such as human error, miscommunication, and systemic issues within the healthcare system also play a significant role in medical errors.
The consequences of hospitals putting profits over patients are far-reaching and demand immediate attention. When patients suffer harm due to a hospital’s greed, it is essential to seek legal and systemic changes that prioritize patient well-being. An Atlee Hall medical malpractice lawyer is here to help.
If a medical provider’s negligent actions injured you, call our team of attorneys today. We’ll hear your story, explain your options, and pursue the maximum compensation for your recovery.