A scenario involving Mike, a lab technician was observed in order to provide discussion and gain insight on the topic of critical decision making for healthcare providers. Mike is employed as a lab technician and has been late to work on a regular basis. Mike’s job is important to him as he is the sole provider for his infant child and wife. Mike’s supervisor has spoken to him about being late and the possibility of termination should he continue to do so. Mike appears to take his conversation with his supervisor seriously. He has left home 20 minutes earlier in order to arrive to work on time. He arrives at the facility and on the way to his department notices a spill on the floor. The scenario poses questions about the decisions Mike now must make: Should he report the spill and risk being late again, possibly resulting in termination? Or should he ignore the spill and hope it is of no consequence? Both options are explored and reflection on the consequences of each action is provided.
Consequences of a Failure to Report
Mike’s decision to report or ignore the spill appears to have negative consequences for Mike either way. If he reports the spill, he will be late again. If he does not report the spill, he will not be late but there is risk that the spill may cause an accident. The scenario involving Mike’s failure to report results in a patient walking by and falling down. She sustains painful injuries and may have a broken hip. Mike is now faced with the dilemma of confessing that the patient fall may be a direct consequence of his failure to report and risk termination.
Mike’s failure to report affects the facility negatively. There has now been a patient fall, which is costly in both time and resources and may not be reimbursed. There is also the negative impact on the patient. The fall has led to injury, which may result in extended hospitalization, decreases in independence, as well as depression and fear of falling (A scenario involving Mike a lab technician).
Impact of Failure to Report
The failure to report the spill has resulted in an overall negative impact to every aspect involved. Not reporting the spill compromises patient safety. Patient safety is always a priority because a patient fall or injury has significant negative effects on both the patient as well as the healthcare facility. Besides the negative effect on the patient, the financial impact of patient falls on healthcare facilities is negative as well. The CDC has predicted that the total cost of fall injuries will reach $67.7 billion by 2020, making falls one of the 20 most costly medical conditions (Silva & Hain, 2017).
In addition to the negative financial impact that a patient fall has on the healthcare facility, there may be legal problems as well. The patient may seek legal action against the facility, which will result in additional resources and expenses. Legal action against a healthcare facility will bring negative publicity with it, which can affect its rating and satisfaction scores. The patient fall will result in increased workload to the staff, as there will be additional monitoring and assessments for nursing, additional radiology tests, physical and occupational therapy, ortho consults, and additional case management.