Lawsuit: Ohio nurse was 'worked to death'


#1

Ok, I’m a nurse who works night shifts. Sometimes I get sleepy on my 40 minute drive home. What do I do? I pull over and have a nap. Working night shift can make you sleepy. I actually find my sleepiness totally unrelated to how busy my shift is, but to how much sleep I’ve had the day before.

I’m sorry for this nurse’s family, but I don’t see how this is the hospital’s fault. If you work night shift, you’d better arrange your life around getting enough sleep. :shrug: I’m all for better staffing, but don’t see how that is related to this accident.

cnn.com/2013/11/12/health/ohio-nurse-worked-to-death-lawsuit-says/


#2

I agree. A nurse should have a better than average understanding of the dangers of driving while tired. If you cannot drive safely, call a cab or make other arrangements. I feel sorry for her family, but it sounds to me like a lawyer smelled a fee from threating expensive litigation.


#3

“Worked to death”, what a pathetic spin, I think it’s a universally-known fact that nurses need to work night shifts, oftentimes for many years before they can land a day-time position. If 12 hours night shifts aren’t for you, maybe being a nurse isn’t for you. Hopefully, I don’t come across as a big philodox. :stuck_out_tongue:


#4

:rotfl::tiphat::whistle:


#5

Incidentally, I found out about this suit because the ANA (American Nurse’s Association) sent me a link in an email. They are a national nurse’s union and I’m on their mailing list. They push a lot of political agendas, but aren’t the best union in their collective bargaining.

It irritates me to see them using this to further their political agendas, rather than educating night shift workers on tactics to avoid falling asleep at the wheel. This nurse could have very well killed someone else’s family member with her irresponsible driving. :frowning:


#6

Philodox? Thanks for the cool word.

Whether the husband has a case I don’t know but “bad lawyer looking for big $$$” seems to be the knee-jerk reaction around here.
To the issue, hospitals need to do something about the shifts nurses are forced to work. The problem is not just night shifts but double shifts and completely inconsistent schedules (a double here, a day shift there, followed by a night) which is even worse than working nights.
Not to mention that nursing is the most family-unfriendly profession I can think of. I had four aunts who were nurses. Two just left the profession and two had to get out of hospital work and became visiting nurses. My sister, also an RN, made a lot more money when she quit and became a health-care consultant.

Remember, if you are ever in hospital (God forbid) your life depends on the nurses much more than the doctors. Given how important their work in you’d think they would be treated better.


#7

I worked the night shift for years, not as a nurse but on another job, and all you have to do is arrange your schedule according to that shift. :shrug: I got off at 6am had dinner and relaxed as if it were 6 pm then went to bed at 9 or 10am as if it were 9 or 10pm then slept 6-8hrs then got up at 5pm as if it were 5 am and had “breakfast” and headed off to work. :shrug: You can still get the right amount of rest working the night shift by just managing your time as if you were on day shift, my body got used to it and I kept that same schedule even on my off days(nights) so as not to confuse my internal clock. I liked working the night shift, when I did my shopping or other things, I was able to beat the crowds because I was the one shopping or whatever at 6am in the morning. :slight_smile: It was 6pm to me. I would get home before rush hour and leave for work after rush hour at like 9pm in the evening etc. It was nice. It took my body and sleep cycle a while to adjust to a morning shift job when I changed jobs. And now I work 2 jobs, an 8hr job and a 4 hr job, so around 12hrs and I get enough rest. You just have to plan your time that’s all and sleep a lot when you are off. On my off days I sleep 10hrs a night. I really sleep in on the days that I happen to be off both jobs on the same day, like today, I’m off both jobs today :slight_smile: My off days are different from week to week for both jobs and most of the time when I’m off on one job I still work the other job and vice versa but every 2 weeks or so there comes a day when I happen to be scheduled off on both jobs on the same day, like today. :slight_smile: I sleep 10hrs on those days. You just have to manage your time and make getting sleep a priority like it’s food. I still go to mass regularly too while working 2 jobs, so it can be done. That person is just looking for free money through a bogus lawsuit.


#8

Is this what Americans do these days is just sue others. I’m disappointed.


#9

The grieving process is made infinitely easier if you have 2 million dollars from a settlement sleeping in your bank account. I’m not being petty saying this, it’s just a fact, money is extremely powerful, and seductive. It can fix a thousand and one things in life. This ludicrous lawsuit is about getting money, if there were no money at the end of it, it wouldn’t happen. If money is your end, you’ll be on the lookout for means to get it.


#10

Agreed. Sounds like she worked on a poorly staffed unit. When you tell administration that you don’t have enough staff, they go home after 8 hrs. and tell you to just keep calling people until you find someone that can come in. So, when you call for help, you are basically begging people to come to work. Because nurses are overall very committed to their work and feel for their peers and patients, they often break down and pull the extra shifts even if they’re not up to it. This adds to their stress level and impacts family life. This woman had 2 small children. Working 12 hr. midnight shifts, raising a family and constantly being asked to work overtime, makes regular sleep almost impossible. I’m guessing her husband just had enough. If more people did this, maybe the administration would work to staff hospitals more appropriately. As they say, money talks. Hopefully, this will help!


#11

If you decide to work OT that’s your own responsibility. Most of my colleagues do it for the money. Frankly, a lot of nurses I work with are big enablers. Their slackjaw husbands are usually the number one recipients. :rolleyes:

If they call me to work extra and I’m too tired, I say “I’m too tired.”. Simple as that.


#12

I admire you for your ability to say, “no”. If more nurses did that, the hospital may decide that they need to hire more nurses. Unfortunately, being one of few trained to run the unit’s dialysis machines, this nurse probably felt a sense of obligation to go in. Also, if people don’t come in, the hospital can enforce mandatory overtime, which means you stay no matter what (if it’s your turn). On a poorly staffed unit, this can happen quite frequently. How fair is this to the mom working midnights with 2 kids at home?

From listening to the dad speak, it sounds like this nurse was a caring person. I feel for him and for the family. The fact remains that some hospitals have a long way to go when it comes to properly staffing their units. The husband is also suing for better staffing at that hospital.


#13

Mandatory overtime is illegal in my state. It should be everywhere.

I still do not blame the hospital for the accident. She should have known better. Working nightshift is inherently exhausting. Driving while sleepy is illegal. If she had killed a family member of mine, I would be sueing her, not the hospital.

Inability to say no is no excuse.


#14

Not to sound cold, but I would just say no too. I know she wants to help other people but don’t put that before your own health and safety or before your own children who are now motherless because of it. I would turn my phone off after work so they couldn’t call me to come in, and I would tell them I couldn’t come in because I have 2 little ones I need to take care of too etc. It’s a sad situation but she should have just said no, or her hubby needed to take up the slack with the kids to enable her to get rest. It’s not like she was raising the kids alone. She should have said no, or let hubby watch the kids while she gets some rest if she felt like she couldn’t say no.


#15

But she had a husband to help with the kids, so if she felt like she couldn’t say no then she needed to have the husband watch the kids so she can get some rest. It’s not like she was raising them alone, so that’s no excuse for her not getting enough rest if she felt she HAD to go in every time they asked. Rest needs to be a priority like food. I know she wanted to help people but not to the point of endangering her own life or risk leaving her kids motherless. Now she’s gone, her kids are motherless and they are still short of help without her there, so not saying no did not benefit anyone. If she learned to say no, she would still be there to help the patients and her kids would have a mom. And if the hospitals do enforce mandatory overtime that may benefit her because then the extra hours would be more evenly distributed among all the workers making each person do less overtime instead of the few suckers they talk into staying over taking up all the slack alone. :wink: I used to work at a job like that where they used to call me in all the time on my off days or asking me to stay over etc and i used to say yes all the time and when they find one who will drop everything for them that person becomes the first one they call each and every time because it’s easier for them and it got to a point where I learned to say no. Why call 10 people to ask when they know this one person will come in every single time so it’s just easier to call the one they know will come than to try other people. That’s how she got stuck in that cycle of always being the one to do so much overtime. They kept calling her because she kept saying yes. :shrug: I also worked at a job where they had mandatory overtime and it did actually make it easier on everyone because everyone shared the extra hours instead of a few people doing all of the hours themselves. It’s easier for ***everyone ***to do 1 extra hour a day than for one person to do 4 extra hours every single day.


#16

That’s the tragedy. This woman never got to the point where she could say, “no”. Because she worked so much overtime, I’m guessing that the unit was inadequately staffed. This could be avoided if more nurses said, “enough is enough”. Maybe it will take a few major lawsuits to open some eyes. No amount of money will bring this woman back, but the part about suing for better staffing at that hospital may be a step in the right direction. Agree that mandatory overtime is better. However, difficult for the midnight shift nurses, especially the ones who run home to get kids off to school or who long to hit the pillow by 8 AM.


#17

I agree with you. I’m a nurse also who found out about this case the same way you did.
It irritates me as well when the ANA uses such events for their political agendas.
As far as the involved nurse, she should have known better than to drive when that exhausted. People need to start taking responsibility for their actions and any ramifications of such actions.


#18

I hope this includes the administrative body of those hospitals that are poorly staffed and subsequently, overwork nurses.


#19

Another thing that irritates me about the ANA is that they support every new governmental oversight that makes delivery of care more cumbersome for nurses. The workplace has become an obstacle course of mandatory charting, screening, making sure they aren’t suicidal, helping them keep track of their meds, finding out if they had a flu shot, yada yada yada.

They back initiatives and political parties that make care more expensive. Then they complain when hospitals have to cut back staff, which they’ve been doing right and left since the party that they supported in the election took power. :mad:


#20

Amen to that.


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