Americans Are Working So Hard It’s Actually Killing People

Americans Are Working So Hard It’s Actually Killing People

Saturday, 01 November 2014 10:07By Esther Kaplan, The Nation | News Analysis

Hospital staff

(Image: Hospital staff via Shutterstock)

Jessica Wheeler works the night shift as an oncology nurse at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital in northeastern Pennsylvania—but her patients are usually wide awake. “When they have a new cancer diagnosis or they’re going to have a biopsy in the morning, they don’t sleep,” says the 25-year-old Wheeler (which is not her real name). “They’re scared.”

Other patients are in their final hours of life, surrounded by grieving family. What she wants is to be there to comfort them, to talk them through those difficult hours, to hold their hands and attend to their pain. But, mostly, she can’t.

According to hospital policy, night nurses on her floor should care for no more than six and a half patients, but they typically have ten. When things go bad with one or two, the floor quickly tips into chaos.

Wheeler recalls one night when she had a patient who couldn’t breathe and several others under her care. “I called the supervisor to ask for anybody—a nursing assistant, anybody! And I didn’t get it, and my patient ended up coding.” Another night, Wheeler had a post-op patient who required constant attention; the patient was confused and sick, and she soon escaped her restraints and pulled out her drains, spraying fecal matter all over the wall. Early the next morning, her heartbeat became irregular just as another patient was dying. “Those nights are scary,” Wheeler says. “I think I’ve seen everybody on our floor cry.”  [Read more]

 

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Comments

  • Rosaliene Bacchus  On 11/02/2014 at 3:20 pm

    It was painful reading this article. I’ve been there. The pressure for increased productivity takes a serious toll on one’s health. When someone’s life depends upon your ability to give them the care they need for their recovery, you bear an added emotional burden.

    We humans have lost our way in an economic system that has turned us into disposable worker-slaves and consumers to feed the greed of those who control the system. With an abundant supply of worker-slaves, those who control the system can afford to dispose of the burnt-out and injured worker-slaves without concern.

    We are like cattle led to the slaughterhouse.

  • gigi  On 11/04/2014 at 9:21 pm

    “With an abundant supply of worker-slaves, those who control the system can afford to dispose of the burnt-out and injured worker-slaves without concern.”

    So, so true. Corporations love overpopulation which provides them with a cheap never ending supply of slave labor. Women especially need to become educated about this. Every time my kids parrot that they don’t want children it’s music to my ears.

    Illegal immigrants are the worst worker-slaves who do the real back breaking labor for literally peanuts. That’s why America loves those illegal immigrants that it can overwork, work to death, abuse and deport without batting an eye, especially when they become injured, sick or old. America doesn’t have to pick up the tab for providing care/benefits to them though they pay into the system through sales tax and other insidious ways.

    Govt jobs in certain countries are among the few decent and humane jobs out there even with all its corruption. Corruption is just as rife in the corporate sector and that’s in addition to working people like slaves.

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