Faulty equipment. Wrong prescriptions. Botched surgeries ...

Medical mistakes happen all too often and can be deadly. Now, many patients are coming to the hospital armed with protection — a private nurse.

"The patients, they don't want to put their lives in the hands of a floor nurse," private duty nurse Remedios Consoli said.

Private duty nurses are hired by the patient, not the hospital.

"We're there 24 hours a day on a one-to-one basis," Consoli said.

Toby Feinbert hired a private duty nurse when her mother broke her hip.

"It really made the whole experience for my mother much easier and it gave me piece of mind knowing that someone was caring for her, giving her superb care all of the time," Feinbert said.

Private duty nurses go to the hospital with the patient, staying in the room at all times. They study the patient's records and check medications closely, making sure that no mistakes are made.

"A private duty nurse would be able to be an advocate for them and patients have heard a lot about unsafe practices, things that have caused death and errors from all kinds of healthcare workers," Carol Jenkins, a nurse's assistant, said.

As hospitals become overcrowded and understaffed, more and more people are showing up with their own health care worker in tow.

A shortage of nurses nationwide has left many hospitals in critical condition. Often, there is one floor nurse to 15 patients. Most hospitals welcome the extra help they get from private duty nurses, as long as it doesn't interfere with the care of other patients.

Private duty nurses are expensive, costing as much as $900 a day. Insurance typically doesn't cover their costs, but patients who choose to hire them say their health and safety is worth the cost.

"Nurses are taking care of great numbers of patients, a lot more than they ever thought they would when they came out of their educational program, and they make mistakes," Jenkins said.