Overworked Doctors Remain a Threat to Patient Safety

Posted on November 13, 2015 by Shapiro Law Group


A new article published in the Washington Post has claimed some doctors fresh out of medical school are working 30-hour shifts, potentially putting patient safety at risk. Despite rules passed by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education that limit the number of work hours, many residents and interns are still being worked to exhaustion.

In 2011, shift limits were put into place for residents and interns to protect patients. First-year residents were restricted to 16 hours.

However, it turns out many residents and interns have falsified hours. In 2008, a study reported 87 percent of residents and interns worked beyond shift limits despite new rules. A new study is presently being conducted to find out whether the number of falsifications have decreased or increased since shift limits were put into place.

Overworked Doctors Cause Deadly Medical Mistakes

There are legitimate reasons to be concerned about overworked doctors and patient safety. In 1984, 18-year-old Libby Zion died while receiving treatment from a first-year resident who had been working a 36-hour shift. New York put shift limits into place after Zion’s death, but it took decades for the rest of the nation to follow suit.

Another popular argument is that long shifts force doctors to handoff patients to other doctors, which is more dangerous than providing treatment while sleep deprived. Long shifts can cause many problems, and it is still an issue being researched by universities across the U.S.

Patients do not deserve to lose their lives and families should never have to suffer the pain of losing loved ones due to preventable medical mistakes. Patient safety should always remain a top priority for hospitals and medical professionals.

Shapiro Law GroupTampa Bay Medical Malpractice Attorneys

Tags: PatientSafety


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