Furr & Henshaw
Myrtle Beach
Making You Whole Again

Sleep deprivation among physicians affects patient care: Part I

In recent years, the federal government has invested an extraordinary amount of time and resources to address the issue of trucker fatigue. When commercial truck drivers fail to obtain adequate rest, their judgment, ability to react quickly and ability to perform their jobs safely becomes impaired. Many innocent bystanders die on American roads as a result of trucker fatigue. The same effort that has been put into addressing trucker fatigue must now be put into combating the critical patient safety hazard of physician fatigue.

Human error will always be a part of the professional landscape. However, it can be greatly minimized if the common contributors to human error are addressed. Along with inadequate preparation, holes in communication and other preventable factors, physician fatigue contributes to the prevalence of medical malpractice in America. Because just as sleep deprivation affects every aspect of trucking safety, it similarly impacts every element of patient safety.

Sleep deprivation is in some ways, a cultural rite within the medical community. Sleep deprivation is a sign of commitment to the job at personal cost. The larger issue however, is that it costs patients even more than the sleepy physicians. According to recent research, surgical complication rates increase significantly when physicians do not obtain adequate rest the night before procedures. In addition, medical error rates among both interns and residents spike when providers are sleep deprived.

What can be done to change this cultural norm and help to ensure that physicians achieve adequate rest before treating patients? Please check back in later this week as we continue our discussion.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Doctors Are Human; They Need Sleep," Dr. Michael J. Breus, Nov. 5, 2012

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
email us for a response
email us for a response

Contact The Office

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Furr & Henshaw
1900 Oak Street
PO Box 2909
Myrtle Beach, SC 29578

Toll Free: 800-648-2947
Phone: 843-213-6737
Fax: 843-448-6445
Myrtle Beach Law Office Map

back to top