Daughter says lack of nurses led to father’s death at hospital

Hospital has been at center of controversy over low staffing levels

A Santa Fe hospital is being accused of negligence in a wrongful death lawsuit brought forward by the daughter of a former patient, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican. The daughter says that low staffing levels at the hospital led to negligence which ultimately resulted in her father's death of a heart attack at the facility in 2011. It allegedly took over an hour before a nurse noticed the patient was unresponsive. The hospital has been at the center of much controversy recently both with its union and the public over allegedly low staffing levels.

Heart attack

The patient was at the hospital in 2011 for dialysis treatment of advanced kidney disease. A day after the treatment, he was given opiates and morphine throughout the day, even though the suit alleges that his kidney problems meant his body would not be able to handle the painkillers.

He died later in the day of a heart attack. However, it took up to 105 minutes from when he was given his final painkiller dose until a nurse finally came to check on him, at which point he was found to be unresponsive and never regained consciousness.

Lack of nurses

The patient's daughter has since filed a lawsuit highlighting how long it took before a nurse finally came to check on her father. The lawsuit accuses the hospital of maintaining dangerously low staffing levels that compromised the care received by this particular patient.

The hospital is no stranger to controversy over its staff hiring practices. The nurses' union at the hospital only recently signed a new contract with the facility's administration after a highly fraught battle over staffing levels. According to KOAT 7 News, nurses repeatedly raised concerns with the administration over a lack of staff. The problem became so bad, in fact, that many nurses decided to quit rather than continue in what they saw as an unsafe situation. The contract that was finally agreed to in October requires the hospital to maintain nursing levels at 40 percent of the levels found at similar hospitals.

Hospital negligence

Patients rightfully expect that a hospital will do all it can to ensure they receive the best care and treatment possible. When hospitals make mistakes, after all, the consequences for innocent victims often cannot be corrected. Unfortunately, all hospitals are not created equal and some may cut safety corners and compromise patients' health as a result.

Anybody who has been the victim of potential hospital negligence should contact a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. Hospitals that put patients in harm's way need to be held accountable for their actions. An experienced attorney can help victims understand what their rights are and what sort of legal recourse may be available to them.