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Doctor Fatigue Error Lawyers in Washington

Medical Malpractice & Fatigue Errors

Most people cannot perform at their best without sufficient rest, and medical providers are no exception. Recent research has shown that insufficient sleep is a major contributing factor to medical errors. Lack of sleep is difficult for anyone, but when doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers are fatigued while performing their duties, the patients are the ones who suffer the most. Serious medical errors made by sleep-deprived healthcare professionals can result in serious, catastrophic, or fatal injuries.

Doctors, nurses, and other medical providers have a duty to their patients to perform within a reasonable standard of care, and it is their responsibility to get sufficient rest in order to perform. When fatigue or exhaustion results in serious injuries caused by preventable medical errors, injured patients have recourse under the law to hold negligent healthcare professionals accountable, and seek compensation for the losses they have suffered.

At Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., we have devoted our practice exclusively to representing injured people in Seattle and Washington State. You can have confidence that we have the skills, knowledge, resources, and dedication to providing the professional level of representation you need in a Washington medical malpractice claim or lawsuit.

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Research on Fatigue and Medical Errors

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) published a study concerning the effects of fatigue and lack of sleep on nurses' performance and how patient safety is affected. Researchers found that night shift workers sleep 1 to 4 hours less than normal, and by the end of the work week, accumulated loss of sleep is significant enough to impair:

  • Decision making;
  • Initiative;
  • Vigilance;
  • Planning and execution; and
  • Integration of information.

Researchers report that falling asleep on the job is not uncommon among nurses and other shift workers on the night shift. A survey revealed that falling asleep on a night shift at least once during the workweek occurred among:

  • 20.7% of day or evening shift nurses working occasional nights;
  • 32.4% of nurses who work nights; and
  • 35.3% of nurses who rotate shifts.

In addition to lack of sleep, fatigue can result from work shifts that continue for too long. Researchers found that 75% of hospital staff nurses work 12-hour shifts, and some work as long as 20 consecutive hours. Accident rates increase with extended work shifts – rising after 9, doubling after 12, and tripling at 16 consecutive hours of work.

A Journal of Emergency Medical Services (JEMS) article reports on a study examining the link between fatigue and medical errors in emergency medicine services (EMS). Researchers found that more than half of EMS workers are sleep-deprived or fatigued at work, and the incidence of medical errors is more than twice as high in those cases. Common EMS medical errors include:

  • Dropping patients
  • Medication errors
  • Deviations from protocol
  • Failure to secure patient's airway

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Contact Our Seattle Fatigue Error Attorneys Today

There is no acceptable excuse for preventable medical errors. If you have been injured through a medical provider's negligence, contact us for a free case consultation with no obligation. At Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., we work on a contingency fee basis, and you pay us no fees until we obtain a recovery for you. We can be reached at (888) 228-3860.

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