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Longer shifts might be safer for new doctors than shorter hours

Patient safety is supposed to be at the forefront of medical decisions and health care policies. That is one of the reason a medical oversight board reduced the number of hours a new doctor can work in one shift. New medical residents, which are new doctors, had their hours reduced from a maximum of 30 hours per shift to just 16 hours. While this was meant to help reduce the number of errors that doctors make due to fatigue.

Instead of decreasing the number of errors, two recent studies confirmed that the shorter hours actually increased the error rate of new doctors by 15 to 20 percent. It isn't really clear why the shorter hours led to an increase in errors, but it is definitely something that will likely be studied further and might need immediate action by health care officials. One possible reason may be because the responsibilities of these new doctors and medical students weren't reduced, despite a reduction in the hours they were allowed to work.

This is a major increase, and it should be addressed by teaching hospitals across the country. Many times people turn to teaching hospital for some of the best medical care in the world. These hospitals sometimes receive research funding and have some of the newest techniques in medicine. Despite excellent reputations, hospitals and doctors can sometimes be subject to bureaucratic constraints that lead to patient safety issues.

Speaking with an experienced personal injury attorney might be a wise decision for people who are injured because of medical malpractice. While a personal injury lawsuit might not be able to undo an injury or illness caused by negligent medical care, it can help a patient cover expenses that result from the incident.

Source: USA Today, "Studies: Residents make more errors on shorter shifts," Janice Lloyd, March 25, 2013

-Our law firm handles personal injury lawsuits caused by medical malpractice. Please visit our website to learn more.

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