Thousands of people are admitted to hospitals in the US every day. Hospital beds are being filled so rapidly that makeshift ones need to be made. Many events that lead people needing to be hospitalized can be avoided. It doesn’t help when a pandemic is thrown into the mix too. When hospitals are inundated with patients, it strains the health care system and can stop professionals from performing their job to the standard that’s needed.
Some events happen less frequently, like terrorist attacks. Others occur daily, like car crashes. These occurrences put a strain on hospital staff and resources by requiring emergency surgeries and more beds. It’s important that everyone does their best to help lessen the burden and help hospitals to be functional and efficient. Here are five events that lead to American hospitals being overwhelmed.
1. Terrorist Attacks
Every year around 21,000 people die from terrorist attacks worldwide. In 2017, they were responsible for 0.05% of all global deaths. The biggest terrorist attack to occur in the US, and the world, was 9/11. During that day and the days that followed, 2,977 people died and 6,000 suffered serious injuries. Hospitals in New York and the surrounding area were inundated with people needing serious medical attention. There weren’t enough beds for everyone who needed help, and not enough medical professionals to give assistance to those with injuries.
Deaths caused indirectly by the explosions may not even be counted in the figures. The dust and debris from the explosion may have caused people in the area to develop cancer or other serious illnesses. If you know someone who suffered from this, these helpful resources will guide them in understanding and assessing their legal options.
Covid-19 is a leading cause of death in US today. The country has seen a total of 29.5 million cases and 534 thousand deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. The hospital system is being overwhelmed by the number of people needing medical attention from the virus. However, the number of patients is going down. In January 2021, there were over 100,000 people in US hospitals with Covid, and in March 2021 it was under 40,000. Good hygiene, mask wearing, and social distancing will help to lower this number even more and lessen the burden.
The overcrowding of hospitals means that it’s harder for doctors to perform their jobs to the highest standards. There isn’t enough equipment, such as ventilators, to support every patient, and medical professionals may become stressed and burned out.
3. Car Crashes
Car crashes have led to a high number of deaths for decades. In the US, it’s the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 1 and 54. Every year, 38,000 people die from car related incidents and 4.4 million are seriously injured. The majority of these people are admitted to hospitals and require medical help. The main causes of car crashes are easy to avoid:
- Driving under the influence
Speeding is the leading cause of road accidents because it’s harder to maneuver a speeding car and has more force upon impact with another object. Injuries from car crashes vary from head injuries to loss of limbs. Emergency surgeries are often needed after major accidents and they put extra strain on hospitals. By driving at the speed limit, keeping alcohol consumption low, and staying focused, motorists may help lessen the amount of people who need admitting to hospitals from car crashes.
4. Workplace Injuries That Lead to Deaths
During 2019, a worker died from a workplace injury every 99 minutes in the US. Deaths related to work-related injuries can be avoided by following the proper safety procedures. Different industries have different guidelines that need to be followed. For example, in construction, safety equipment, like hardhats and sturdy shoes, need to be worn. Whereas in the office, desks need to be set up ergonomically and stress levels managed. However, in most cases where death has occurred in a workplace, it’s from manual labor. Roughly 20% of fatally injured workers were employed as a truck driver or sales worker.
Work-related injuries and deaths also include suicide related to work stresses and unintentional overdoses. In 2019, there were 307 suicides and 313 overdoses, which was a slight increase from the previous years. These can be reduced by employers ensuring that employees are happy and coping with their job. Less workplace incidents will mean less hospital beds taken up by injuries that can easily be avoided and more medication for other patients. Following the occupational health and safety guidelines will help lessen the number of hospitalizations from workplace injuries.
5. Hospital Mistakes and Errors
Some deaths that occur at hospitals aren’t from external factors but are from mistakes made in the hospital. It’s estimated that every year around 22,000 people die from mistakes made by medical professionals. For example, diagnosing someone wrongly or failing to manage their condition properly. Wrongly diagnosing someone can lead to their medications causing more issues and may increase their chances of dying.
In most cases where these deaths occur, the patients are already ill and have a life expectancy of three months. For patients who were previously healthy and die from hospital error, the rate is around 7,000 every year. These mistakes can burden hospitals by making medical professionals second guess their decisions and wasting medication on the wrong diagnosis. While these mistakes may not be completely eliminated, following hospital procedures and thorough testing may lessen the number of deaths.
There are a lot of events that lead to hospitals being overwhelmed with patients. Events such as terrorist attacks can lead to an influx of patients when it happens, and more admissions years after. Other events, like car crashes and workplace injuries, are more consistent and happen every day.
At the moment, Covid-19 is resulting in US hospitals being overcrowded and burdening the health care system. Emergency surgeries and resources, such as medications, are needed more when these events occur. Hospitals can run more effectively and offer better care to patients when they’re not overwhelmed.