Study: Lack of sleep for doctors could spark medical malpractice

When Maryland residents suspect that they or a loved one has been injured, became ill or there was a fatality because of a medical error, they will frequently look to the clinical treatment that was given. There will undoubtedly be evidence of the mistake itself when the medical record is scrutinized. However, there are other factors in medical malpractice cases and they too can be important when considering a legal filing. Researchers assess medical missteps and gauge causes to discover and prevent them.

Medical mistakes could stem from insufficient sleep for doctors

A recent study suggests that a lack of sleep for treating physicians could be a significant factor in medical errors. For its research, there were 11 academic medical centers surveyed on several topics. Sleep was one of them. There were more than 11,300 physicians who took part between November 2016 and October 2018. Nearly 7,800 replied to questions about medical errors they made and self-reported.

Compared to attending physicians, residents had more problems with impairment due to a lack of sleep. Those who were specializing in surgical procedures had the highest amount of sleep deprivation out of 12 specialties that were analyzed. For attending physicians, the highest number of sleep-related impairment issues were from those working in the emergency department. Attending surgical specialists had the fewest.

The researchers adjusted their conclusions based on specialties and the doctors’ level of training. If the physicians had moderate sleep deprivation, there was a 53% higher chance of a major error. For those who were at the high end of being deprived of sleep, it rose to 97%. Lack of sleep is believed to contribute to physician burnout, lack of career fulfillment and more self-reported medical errors. It is suggested that there should be intervention to prevent this from impacting patients.

Understanding what steps to take after a medical error

After an unexpected health challenge arises and it is believed to have been due to medical malpractice, those who were impacted should be aware of what they should do in the aftermath. It is essential to find out what happened and why. Although some medical errors are obvious such as wrong site surgery, misdiagnosis or medication errors, others have greater nuance and require a deeper. If a medical professional made a mistake due to a lack of sleep, it could be important in the context of proving the mistake happened and recovering compensation for medical costs, lost income, long-term care, pain and suffering and more. Consulting with a firm that is experienced in all aspects of medical malpractice can give guidance and assistance in effectively moving forward with a legal claim.


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