The Sun Chronicle: As an area firefighter who is often called upon for transporting patients to local hospitals, and as a father, and potential patient myself, I would like to respond to the recent Sun Chronicle coverage concerning “The Patient Safety Act,” a ballot initiative to protect all patients in our Hospitals by establishing a safe limit on the number of patients assigned to a nurse at one time.
Firefighters’ ability to protect lives and property is directly related to legally enforceable limits to ensure needed resources are available to properly and safely perform our duties. There are standards governing how many Firefighters should be placed on a piece of apparatus as well as National and State protocols that dictate proper pre-hospital emergency staffing based on patient condition needs and safety for both the patient and staff during transport to the hospital.
When my son was younger and required daycare there was (and is) a legal limit on the number of children a provider could care for at one time to ensure his safety.
Even while attending public school, his class size is regulated on the number of students per teacher. If he were injured or became seriously ill at either and needed to be transported to the hospital, as mentioned above, there is a legal limit on the number of staffing that ambulance has to ensure his safety during transport to the hospital. However, as soon as he arrives at the hospital, there is currently no limit or law on how many other children and adults one nurse can care for at one time.
Safe patient limits for our nurses must continue during the next step of the treatment process when these patients are brought into the hospital. There are literally dozens of scientific studies to demonstrate when nurses have too many patients, the risk of injury or harm to those patients increases dramatically. It only makes sense that nurses, who have our lives in their hands every minute patients are in the hospital, have a safe limit on the number of patients assigned to them at any one time.
That is why I intend to vote yes for safe patient limits in November and respectfully ask you do the same.