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Chicago Personal Injury Blog

Are Health Care Workers Working with the Flu?

by Jared Staver in Medical Malpractice

Winter can bring us some of the most unwanted complications, such as snow, ice, and the flu. While snow and ice can make your commute treacherous, the flu can keep you out of work for some time.

Healthcare professionals see hospital visits increase during flu season, and sometimes they cannot allow visitors for fear that this highly contagious sickness will spread rapidly to those outside hospital walls. But, there has been speculation that a significant number of these medical professionals might be working with the flu themselves, which means they may actually be the ones who are spreading it.

If you believe you may have gotten sick from the negligence of a medical professional, reach out to a medical malpractice attorney at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. We can evaluate your case during our free consultation.

Call us at today.

Conclusions of a New Flu Study

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published a new study in the American Journal of Infection Control that touches on healthcare professionals (HCPs) who go to work even if they’re experiencing flu-like symptoms. Of the 1,914 employees studied, 414 reported they had at least one symptom of the flu, and 183 of those respondents decided to go to work anyway.

The CDC found a number of other statistics, including:

  • 41.4 percent of HCPs worked an average of three days while they were sick.
  • 63.2 percent of physicians reported working while sick.
  • 57.3 percent of HCPs went to see a doctor about their symptoms.
  • 25.2 percent of HCPs in the above 57.3 percent were told by a doctor that they had the flu.

Why Are HCPs Treating the Sick When They Are Sick?

Doctors, nurses, and hospital staff have prolonged contact with sick people, so it’s understandable that they themselves would catch something at least once in a while. But it doesn’t make sense that these healthcare professionals, who have more knowledge and experience with communicable diseases than the common person, would continue working with the flu and expose people when they are sick. Yet a number of HCPs in the survey didn’t think they needed to stay home because:

  • They didn’t feel ill enough to call off.
  • They felt well enough to perform their job duties.
  • They couldn’t find anyone to cover their shift.
  • They didn’t want to burden their co-workers by leaving them with one less employee.

Researchers who performed the study urged healthcare facilities to revise their regulations in an effort to diminish these instances of employees working with the flu. Their recommendations included:

  • Writing specific policies that clearly state the symptoms should keep a sick employee at home.
  • Revisiting sick leave policies.
  • Training to support their employees and encourage them to stay home when sick.
  • Training a backup staff who can take over when an employee has to miss a shift.

Earlier data shows that employees who are exposed to an illness are five times more likely to contract it as well, so researchers feel that these employees need a more supportive system at work that allows them to stay home and take care of themselves.

Talk to a Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Unfortunately, not all HCPs are taking steps to protect patients and hospital visitors. When you develop an illness, infection, or other complication due to the negligent behavior of a healthcare worker, you are entitled to pursue compensation. At Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., we feel that your medical expenses should not have to come out your own pocket when your problems were the result of another’s actions. We can discuss your case with you and help you determine which course of action to take.

To speak to one of our medical malpractice attorneys during a free consultation, contact us at today.