Nurses struggle with back injuries caused by lifting patients

Nurses in Dauphin, Pennsylvania, know that their profession provides a greater risk of physical injury due to job requirements. Usually nurses lift and move many patients in the course of a day as a part of their jobs in Pennsylvania healthcare facilities.

Workplace injuries among nurses are common and some media reports suggest that some kinds of nursing jobs provide a greater risk for on-the-job injury. Ironically, these nurses do not receive medical support from their employers-hospitals and healthcare facilities-and are often fired by their employers after suffering an on-the-job injury.

For example, a nurse at Mission Hospital is still struggling with back injuries caused by lifting patients. Initially, after injury, she kept working by taking painkillers. But the pain became unbearable and she was admitted as a patient in the same hospital where she had worked for the last 20 years.

She states she hoped her employer would support treatment, but instead she was fired and denied payment for medical bills and workers' compensation that she, as an employee, was entitled to receive. The hospital lawyer even refused to acknowledge that the injury was work-related, even though court documents showed that the hospital's own medical staff had reached the conclusion that the injuries were caused by moving patients.

This case is not singular to this patient. In fact, many such cases have been experienced by employees of U.S. hospitals. According to employment law, companies are required to pay medical bills for employees injured while doing their jobs. Companies are also required to pay workers' compensation to injured employees to support the employee and their families.

Various studies show that many nursing injury cases can be prevented if hospitals use special equipment to lift and move patients and conduct intensive training for staff use. However, hospitals seem to be resisting investing money to ensure the safety of nursing staff, often citing lack of financial resources.

Source: NPR.org, "Hospital To Nurses: Your Injuries Are Not Our Problem," Daniel Zwerdling, Feb. 18, 2015

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