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Medical Errors More Likely with Temp Workers

According to a study published in the Journal of Healthcare Quality, temporary employees in U.S. hospitals are twice as likely to be involved with medical errors when compared to their permanent employee counterparts.

Dr. Julius Cuong Pham, an assistant professor at John Hopkins University School of Medicine, and his associates, produced the study by examining medication errors from 592 U.S. hospitals, which were voluntarily reported from 2000 through 2005.

Dr. Pham believes the nearly 24,000 emergency room medication errors to be particularly concerning given the growing trend in U.S. hospitals of hiring temporary nursing staff to fill both short-term and long-term shifts. Temporary nurses are becoming more prevalent because they are considered a cheaper option than permanent nurses since they do not receive benefits.

The results of the study suggest that lack of familiarity with their surroundings may contribute to the increased rate of medication errors for temporary workers. However, the study's authors are quick to warn that the cause of the increased rate of errors may be more complex than simply the presence of temporary workers. In a statement, Dr. Pham observed, "A place that uses a lot of temporary staff may have more quality of care issues in general. It may not be the temporary staff that causes those errors but a function of the whole system."

Patients in Michigan, and throughout the U.S., need to be vigilant when it comes to medical errors. If you have been injured as a result of a medical error contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney in your area to be advised of your rights.

Source: Temp Workers Linked to More Medical Error

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