Possible violations of nursing staff levels have triggered the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to investigate the UC Davis Medical Center, reports the Sacramento-based Capital Public Radio broadcasting organization.
In a feature story broadcast August 3, reporter John Sepulvado describes investigations by California state regulators into charges of nurse staffing shortages at the central Sacramento trauma center and comprehensive teaching hospital.
The investigation is reported to be the result of a February complaint filed with regulators by the California Nurses Association (CNA). The organization has a long track record of campaigning for guaranteed healthcare, patient safety, and the rights of California’s registered nurses.
Among the chief concerns expressed in the papers are chronic nurse understaffing at UC Davis Medical Center, and patient problems related to the staff shortage.
According to the Capitol Public Radio report, the California Department of Public Health confirmed that an investigation of UC Davis Medical Center is underway, but offered no further comments. The story also stated that two UC Davis nurses, who are also CNA members, said they were questioned in the last 30 days by the CDPH about understaffing and specific patient cases.
California state law requires different ratios of nurses, including Sacramento LVNs (licensed vocational nurses), to patients. These figures may vary depending on the type of facility and care unit. Operating rooms must have one nurse for each patient, while emergency rooms require one nurse for every four patients.
The CNA documents provided to Capitol Public Radio include several allegations of specific patient problems connected to a shortage of nurses at the UC Davis Medical Center. One complaint details an infant whose stomach required pumping after being overfed. In another instance, a patient in distress was assigned individual monitoring by a nurse. The patient later attempted suicide after being left without the recommended one-on-one nurse monitor.
For years, the California Nurses Association has cited numerous cases of nurse understaffing at hospitals throughout the state. Similar complaints were filed by the organization against the UC Davis Medical Center in 2009 and 2004.
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