A recent HealthGrades study revelaed that 248,000 patient deaths over a three-year period were preventable, and mistakes multiply during the night shift. Every type of patient is at danger during the night.
Studies have shown that babies born at night are 16% more likely to die than babies born during the day. Patients going into cardiac arrest at night were also more likely to die. Pediatric patients admitted at night are more likely to die within two days. The risks appear even more serious when birth injuries and pediatric injuries also occur preventably. Medication administration errors also multiply at night. Weekends are also dangerous for patients.
Because workers with seniority get priority shifts, night time staffers are not only fewer, but less experienced. Night staffing issues are not limited to doctors and nurses; mental health, social services, directors, and administrators are also understaffed on the night shift. Not only are night workers less experienced, they also suffer from fatigue- a major contributor to night shift errors.
Beware of the danger that medical errors are more frequently made at night. Click here to read the full article, including a personal account of a preventable death occuring during the night shift.