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Why Care About the Nurses?

One of the key issues in the nurse's lockout in Nevada by Universal Health Care is patient-to-nurse ratios.  From Taylor Marsh we discover some interesting statistics on the topic via the Department of Health and Human Service (thanks to Julia):

  • The first study found that each additional surgical patient per nurse was associated with a 7-percent higher likelihood of dying within 30 days of admission and a 7-percent higher likelihood of failure to rescue. In the 168 hospitals with a mean patient-to-nurse ratio ranging from 4:1 to 8:1, 4,535 of 232,342 patients died within 30 days of being admitted. If the patient-nurse ratio had been as low as 4:1 in the 168 hospitals, then possibly only 4,000 patients might have died, and had the ratio been as high as 8:1, more than 5,000 might have died.
  • A second study found that 30-day mortality rates among AIDS patients were lower where there was both a higher nurse-patient ratio and an AIDS specialty physician service. For example, the study found that an increase of 0.25 nurse per patient day would produce a 20-percent decrease in 30-day mortality.

In California the nurse-to-patient ratio is 5:1. In Nevada it can be as high as 10:1. 

Rather than deal with problems like these, UHS has spent millions to hire "persuaders" who force nurses to attend mandatory meetings where they are lectured about the evils of unions.

Note to self:  don't get sick in Nevada.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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