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Doctors Need To Disclose Sleep Fatigue Before Surgery

CNN News reported this week on the results of new research that reveal doctors who are sleep-deprived often pose a unique risk to unsuspecting surgical patients.

Overall, researchers found that while falling asleep during surgery is rare, sleepiness poses extreme negative consequences on medical care long before the doctor actually falls asleep. T he chief researcher from the Harvard Medical School explains, “The level of impairment is profound well before you get to the point of being so exhausted that you fall asleep.” In fact, performing surgery while sleepy has been found comparable to driving with a blood alcohol level of .1%, a level of illegality in all 50 states.

To help combat the huge risks and damaging effects of sleepy surgery, researchers are urging all medical institutions to put into place new policies to help handle the problems of sleep-deprived doctors performing surgery. However, few facilities currently have those policies. At a minimum, the study authors believe that doctors should tell patients about their sleep status before performing any non-emergency procedure. In that way, patients are given the control over their own care-choosing either to postpone the surgery or pick a different surgeon.

Our Chicago malpractice lawyers at Levin & Perconti obviously believe that it is vital for all physicians to be completely alert and active any time they are providing medical care-especially care that is as sensitive as surgeries. Nothing is more valuable to anyone than their health. The clear consequences of sleep-deprived doctors performing surgery make it essential for doctors and hospitals to take steps to eliminate the risk. Please contact a medical malpractice lawyer if you believe a doctor has harmed you in this or any other unacceptable manner.

Please Click Here to read more about this important study of risky surgical behavior.

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