With the current obesity epidemic in the United States, nurses and others who are routinely required to move patients may be at risk for injury in the normal course of their duties. In the past the practice was to collect six nurses who were the strongest on that floor and let them all work together to move an obese patient. Recently however, hospitals have brought in new ways of moving patients, such as ceiling lifts and different types of slings. These reduce the amount of weight a nurse actually has to lift at one time, and also help move the patient safely so that individual isn’t harmed during the process. The goal is to reduce everyone’s risk as much as possible.
For nurses, musculoskeletal and back injuries are the most common worries when lifting and moving heavier patients. For every 10,000 registered nurses in 2014, 55 of them were injured and 200 nursing assistants were injured, as well. Tears, strains, and sprains were also common, as were fractures, bruises, and soreness.
In some situations, these types of injuries can be enough to end a nurse’s career. Unfortunately, the root of the problem is not going away. In 2015, there were more than 78.6 million adults in the US who were obese. That’s over one-third of the population. Because people who are obese frequently have more health problems, they are also more likely to be in the hospital and in need of help to turn over or otherwise move around.
While special equipment makes moving heavy patients easier, not all hospitals have this specialized equipment. If you’ve worked as a nurse or other type of healthcare worker and you’ve been injured moving an obese patient, you may have legal options. Workers Compensation insurance could be available to you, along with other methods of financial recovery for your injury. By getting legal help, you give yourself the opportunity to get the treatment you need and the compensation you deserve. Whether that injury was career-ending or not, it’s important to explore your legal options by working with an attorney well-versed in these types of cases.