I am a former employee of Johns Hopkins who worked in their General OR for five years often assigned to complex Liver Transplant cases. I have read about several cases of patients harmed including one on this site, but regular Medical staff are always the target when patients receive substandard care although we remain powerless to speak out without risk of retaliation, ridicule and discipline. nThe problems that appear to arise from seemingly aloof Doctors, uncaring Nurses and poor attention to essential details are the result of a phenomenon that I refer to as: Deliberate Negligent Understaffing. This is an alarmingly common problem in American Healthcare and it has been getting steadily worse since the late nineties. nI was fired without cause for speaking out about this issue at Johns Hopkins Hospital. It only takes a few bad Managers in any one clinical area, plus a Corporate policy of supporting them without question or bothering to investigate the facts, to have a devastating affect on patient care. The reality in most US Hospitals is that there are far too many Managers prepared to protect their own jobs by forcing all of their regular staff to do more with less while vulnerable patients suffer abandonment and negligent care. nNo one joins the Medical profession intent on delivering substandard care, but increasingly staff are being forced to accept unsafe, unworkable conditions that can harmfully impact the patients they are treating. When Medical staff are overwhelmed by the chronic understaffing of clinical areas they become harried, curt and rude to patients and their families. In numerous Medical facilities right across the US Nurses are forced to curtail their attention to fundamental bedside nursing care, important details are ignored, mistakes are made and poor supervision of cleaning staff is leading to higher infection rates. nHowever, when those same staff become so seriously alarmed by unsafe compromises that they attempt to report such exploitation and negligence the are often forced out of their jobs or fired without cause. Vilified employees are incapable of doing their duty in advocating for patient’s rights after they are removed. In the majority of states there are no Whistleblower laws to offer protection from retaliation to conscientious Hospital staff who report negligent practices: this urgently needs to change. nAs a Surgical Technologist at Hopkins I was regularly scrubbed into cases as a member of the sterile team, but on several occasions I was left stranded in Surgery to remain continuously on task for 8, 10 and once during a Liver Transplant for over 12 hours straight! That meant 12 hours without a break for water, food or to use the bathroom; could you still concentrate on your job after such extreme demands were placed on you? nThis would violate the humane treatment of working POWs under the Geneva Convention, but in the State of Maryland breaks are at the discretion of the employer What has that discretion allowed in many US Hospitals? I felt very strongly that my fatigue towards the end of that highly complex Liver Transplant case put the safety of my patient at serious risk, but my complaint to OR Managers was ignored and I was targeted for removal. As I stated at my Arbitration Hearing: No one is more important than the patient unconscious on the OR Table. However, when things go wrong it is always the regular staff who are singled out as the scapegoat while Deliberate Negligent Understaffing continues unabated. nThe incidents that let to my untimely departure were never dealt with appropriately by rogue OR Managers who still remain on staff to this day, protected by greedy Corporate interests and the Iconic Immunity offered to this prestigious institution by most regulatory agencies in the state of Maryland. Unfortunately, it’s a lot harder for the employees of a famous Hospital like Hopkins to be taken seriously when the do report problems to supposedly impartial outside agencies. This oversight is never beneficial for patients. nWhen any Hospital reaches a point where they come to view their activities and their Management style as beyond scrutiny and above the law they are encouraged to bend the rules. It was little comfort to learn that the same team of corrupt OR Managers who fired me went on to brazenly remove far more experienced and essential OR staff because their abuse of power was never disciplined and their repeat offences were never taken seriously by the so called Johns Hopkins Hospital Compliance Line. nUnfortunately, the problem I encountered at Johns Hopkins Hospital goes way beyond just this one Medical facility and this must be tackled with long overdue changes in the law. Shielding staff from retaliation will enable them to protect patients from negligence and harm. Treating Medical professionals humanly and putting an end to the current exploitative toxic work environment will allow Hospital employees to focus on higher standards of patient care. nThe Government urgently needs to thoroughly review the standard policies and practices of all Compliance Lines and discontinue the agenda of promoting self-policing without external oversight. This is necessary to insure that Compliance Lines and so called Risk Management do not simply protect Corporate interests by obscuring the negligent practices diligently reported to them, while offering zero protection to those who dare to report. We need safe Nurse to patient ratios, an enforceable break policy, an immediate end to mandatory overtime as well as Whistleblower protections and so much more. nPlease visit my Blog site which focuses on the necessary changes required to Control Understaffing Today. To read about this vital patient safety initiative, the CUT Campaign go to: medteam.wordpress.com/cut-campaign-for-patient-safety/ nPlease also sign the Petition calling for an investigation into my case which seeks to expose the appalling inadequacies demonstrated by the Compliance Line who ignored my warnings about negligent practices towards patients and failed to provide retaliatory protection. It is still not too late to demand corrective action; to sign this important Petition go to: www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/938995258 nDespite my personal experience, and the extreme hardship that it has caused me, I remain absolutely committed to insuring that the stand I took with regard to patient safety will not be in vain. I hope that those who feel neglected by overworked staff will gain some comfort in knowing that in putting Hospital patients first both Hopkins current and former dedicated Medical staff like me are in the majority at this iconic institution. Sadly, even at Americas Best Hospital we need your support to combat the market forces that are driving dangerous cost containment strategies like Deliberate Negligent Understaffing. nRegulatory changes are usually inspired by those at the very top of the industry; we must now demand that Johns Hopkins step up to the plate. The Institute for Innovation in Quality Patient Care is a Patient Safety organization formulated by Johns Hopkins in response to a past incident. Johns Hopkins also maintains a leadership role in The Center for Law in the Publics Health. It is time for Hopkins to use their prestigious position of authority to help enact protective laws that will eliminate the unfortunate mistakes that cost lives all across America. I urge you to get involved, as only sustained public pressure will make Johns Hopkins consider this course of action. Honesty, integrity and accountability should not be just shallow PR hype; please join me in appealing to Johns Hopkins via the above organizations requesting genuine leadership and an end to Deliberate Negligent Understaffing industry wide. nKimnHastingsUnited Kingdom Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Hospitals
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