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The Steep Price of Doctor Fatigue

By Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. on February 17, 2017

When most people contract an illness, or sustain an injury, they turn to their local hospital for treatment. Most hospitals and medical facilities provide patients with exceptional, compassionate care, and provide them with trustworthy and experienced physicians. This is the case with most hospitals, but there are still some medical facilities in our country that subject their physicians and other medical staff members to dangerously long hours. Continue reading to learn more about doctor fatigue and its potential impact on patient care.

What Is the True Cost of Doctor Fatigue?

Physicians, like every other type of professional, perform their best work when they are well-rested and alert. The medical field is extremely stressful and demanding, and it is imperative that all doctors receive an adequate amount of sleep on a daily basis. Unfortunately, many hospitals and physicians neglect this basic fact, which unknowingly endangers the lives of patients. When a doctor neglects to obtain a healthy amount of sleep, he or she is more likely to:

  • Make serious surgical errors.
  • Incorrectly diagnose medical conditions.
  • Prescribe the incorrect drug.
  • Misinterpret lab results and other patient information.

If a doctor makes one or more of the mistakes listed above, he or she could unintentionally harm a patient instead of help them.

Limits on Work Hours

In most jurisdictions, there are limits on how many hours a doctor is allowed to work. These limits are helpful and effective, but they neglect the fact that every person requires a different amount of sleep. Many of these limits allow physicians to work 12 to 16 hours straight, for several days in a row. Academic hospitals (teaching hospitals), that educate future physicians are notorious for violating these limits and forcing young, inexperienced doctors to work to the point of exhaustion. It is the responsibility of the hospital, in addition to its physicians, to ensure that all medical professional receive a proper amount of sleep. Anything else is simply negligence.

Let Us Assist You With Your Case

If your life has been uprooted by a medical or surgical error, and you believe that doctor fatigue is to blame, a Seattle medical malpractice lawyer at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. is here to assist you. Doctors have a responsibility to heal their patients, not jeopardize their lives, and by forgoing sleep and regular breaks, that is exactly what they are doing. If you are ready to discuss the details of your case, contact our law firm at (888) 228-3860 now.

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