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Can understaffing cause a delay in diagnosis?

On Behalf of | Oct 20, 2022 | Medical Malpractice |

Understaffing is a major problem in the healthcare industry. It has been for years, and in recent years it has only worsened.

Unfortunately, understaffing can cause a great many issues for the patients and residents at hospitals and nursing homes alike. This includes the possibility of an increased number of cases with delayed diagnoses.

What is understaffing in hospitals?

Becker’s Hospital Review discusses the impact of understaffing on quality of care. As staff gets spread thin over too many patients, more and more mistakes tend to happen. People are overworked and tired, and they can miss the details or even start to cut corners because of exhaustion.

Unfortunately, this can manifest in some serious problems for victims, such as delayed diagnoses. This often happens when overworked staff take a look at a patient and make assumptions or miss obvious red flags because they are simply too tired to function at the highest level.

Though this is sometimes a relatively inconsequential problem, it can have potential life-impacting consequences for other people. For example, a doctor could accidentally misdiagnose kidney cancer as a kidney stone.

Lethal delays in diagnoses

The delay in treatment could potentially produce harmful or even lethal effects, too. If someone does not get diagnosed quickly when dealing with rapid onset illnesses, the illness or affliction could proceed to the point that it can no longer be treated before a doctor accurately diagnoses it.

Patients who suffer from ill effects due to delayed diagnosis could have a basis for a medical malpractice case and may want to look into their options.