The Relationship Between Doctor Fatigue & Medical Malpractice

Treating patients and performing any of the numerous other tasks involved in being a medical professional can be demanding both physically and mentally. To ensure patient safety, it is critical that health care workers get proper rest.

Sadly, it is not uncommon for medical professionals to be fatigued at work. This can result in errors that may have serious consequences for their patients.

How Fatigue Can Result in Serious Medical Errors

It’s important to understand that being sleep-deprived or otherwise fatigued can impair someone much more significantly than many realize. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Research, someone who has been awake for 24 hours will be impaired in the same manner that they would be if they had a blood alcohol content of 0.10%, which is over the legal limit to drive in most states. Naturally, if someone is unable to drive safely, they are also unable to safely provide medical treatment. This is particularly true if they are operating on a patient or performing any other such task that requires care and attention.

It’s also worth noting that reports indicate physicians show up to work or provide treatment while under the influence of drugs or alcohol more often than many patients realize. Unfortunately, sleep deprivation and fatigue have been shown to increase the intoxicating effects of even relatively small amounts of alcohol.

Fatigue can specifically have a negative effect on a doctor’s ability to treat patients in the following ways:

  • Reducing overall cognitive function
  • Preventing doctors and other medical professionals from efficiently grasping and processing information that may be relevant to a patient’s condition
  • Interfering with memory
  • Causing changes in mood that can affect decision-making
  • Slowing reaction times

The notion that fatigue can negatively affect a medical professional’s ability to do their job is not mere speculation. Studies have routinely confirmed that errors become more common when doctors and other health care workers have not sufficiently rested.

This may be a relatively common or noteworthy problem due to the simple fact that medical professionals are often required to work very long shifts. During health crises, they also must attend to numerous patients, draining them of their energy. We should sympathize with doctors who are forced to work extremely long hours and perform extremely difficult tasks, and we should certainly identify ways to ensure they get the rest they need, but we cannot overlook the harm that fatigued doctors may cause.

Contact a Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Attorney Today

Health care workers have demanding jobs and often don’t have the option of getting as much rest as they may need. That said, you should not have to absorb the cost of your additional medical bills and other such losses if you or a loved one was harmed because a fatigued doctor or health care worker made a mistake.

If you believe this has occurred to you or a loved one, contact a Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney at The Weitz Firm, LLC today. You may be eligible to recover compensation for your losses. We will help you pursue it if so. Learn more about how we can help by contacting us online or calling us at 267-587-6240 to schedule your case evaluation.



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