When a patient makes an appointment with his or her primary care physician, the tension level at that visit is usually lower than on visits to a specialist, a surgeon or a hospital facility. After all, primary care physicians are most often associated with preventative medicine and therefore these office visits often feel less threatening for patients.
In 2009, the New York Times bestseller list featured a book entitled "Curse of the Good Girl." The premise of this book holds that by insisting that young females conform to an idea of "goodness" characterized by politeness, selflessness and niceness, they tend to become disempowered and fail to reach their full potential. Whether or not this premise is true, a similar argument can be made with regard to patient behavior.
Earlier this week, we began a discussion about the ways in which physicians' lack of sleep is impacting patient safety and the quality of patient care in America. We noted specifically that sleep deprivation is frequently a contributor to the kinds of medical errors which lead to medical malpractice suits. Failure to address the issue of physician sleep deprivation will only lead to these mistakes repeating over and over again.
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.
The use of radiological medical imaging such as X-rays and CT scans has become an important tool for diagnosis and treatment. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is concerned about exposing children to too much radiation. Experts explain that children are especially vulnerable to the risk of developing cancer from the imaging.