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Nurses' Lawsuit Claims Staff Shortages Put Hospital Patients at Risk

Medical care is only as good as the people who provide it. And if there aren't enough trained medical professionals, the level of health care a hospital provides can only be so good.

lawsuit filed by nurses against a Michigan hospital claims staff shortages were so bad at the facility that patients faced delays in medication and basic hygienic care and nurses were forced to work in dangerous conditions. You can read the allegations in the full lawsuit below.

Nursing Numbers

The lawsuit, filed by seven nurses and joined by the Michigan Nurses Association, claims Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital violated Michigan Public Health Code by not accepting written complaints about conditions at the hospital. Those notices -- 240 between January and September of this year alone -- cited numerous instances when patients experienced long waits in receiving care and substandard care when they were attended to.

The lawsuit claims patients suffered falls, were delayed medications, and were left sitting in their urine and feces, sometimes for days, while waiting for baths. The nurses even claim that staff could not attend to patients in life-threatening situations. Additionally, the lawsuit alleges 160 instances where nurses worked without scheduled breaks or lunches due to staff shortages, or were forced to work overtime. And while they meticulously documented each violation, the hospital refused to address the issues.

Labor Litigation

Detroit Medical Center, which owns the hospital, claims the nurses' lawsuit is a bargaining tactic, citing upcoming negotiations with the nurses' union and an "A" grade from hospital safety nonprofit Leapfrog. DMC claims it has received 12 straight such grades, but the Detroit Free Press reports Leapfrog does not consider nurse-to-patient ratios and doesn't conduct on-site visits.

The nurses' lawsuit is seeking a court order forcing Huron Valley-Sinai to accept and respond to all written notices regarding the hospital's health facilities and unsafe conditions or practices. You can read the full lawsuit below:

Michigan Nurses Association v. Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital by FindLaw on Scribd