January 4, 2012

Sleep Deprivation by Doctors Harms Patients

Sleep Deprivation is touted in the medical profession and doctors seem to think that it is okay. Not only that, but for doctors that report working too many hours are ostracized for reporting this. It is no wonder patients are so distrusting of doctors. We are slowly learning that doctors are not taking their Hippocratic Oath seriously and doing more patients harm than good.

These are some of the bad apples that need to be weeded out of the profession. It is small wonder that residents and doctors in training are fighting the system to reduce the work hours. I was harsh about the treatment of medical residents working hours, but this study points out that doctors are even harder on their fellow doctors when they do not work as many hours as their cohorts feel they should.

The lead investigator stated that they were surprised by the results of the study of before 2003 hours worked and the after 2003 hours worked. They suspected that the outcomes would have been the same before and after 2003. Instead, the complication rate decreased.

The following is an important statement, “In fact, many residents record their hours at below 80 and really work 80 hour weeks, and those that record otherwise or speak up are retaliated against by their superiors. Unfortunately, there is no real law to ensure the uniform standard being implemented by UCLA in accordance with the 2003 guidelines is actually being followed in other hospitals. The health care profession needs that type of enforceable law to make sure health care providers are not exceeding the maximum allowable hours and putting people's lives at risk.”

This ties in with another article by Trisha Torrey about the lack of hospital autopsies being performed. This is how many hospitals hide poor care and avoid families learning about mistakes doctors are making. Read this article as it points out many of the habits of hospitals to avoid troubles with family lawsuits.

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