When the Institute of Medicine issued its startling assessment of medical errors three years ago, one of its authors figured it would generate an initial flurry of media accounts to be followed by a swift descent into obscurity. The report led to hearings on Capitol Hill and created a consortium of companies pressing a patient safety initiative. But in reality, there has been talk but little progress in reducing medical errors.
Washington Post, Dec. 3,20002
Dec 4, '02
The above article states ".....numerous studies from aviation, aerospace, the military and other industries linking fatigue with mistakes, sometimes fatal ones....Defenders of the current system say that no studies have linked fatigue or inadequate supervision to medical errors;.....Long work hours by doctors "especially residents.. are incompatible with a safe, high quality health care system," warned Stanford anesthesiologists David M. Gaba and Steven K. Howard in a recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine...."
The public, media, physicians, and hospital administrators need to understand that long working hours by Registered Nurses also are "incompatible with a safe, high quality health care system", but, everyday, RNs in hospitals all over the country are being forced to work in shifts upwards of 16 hours straight. Somehow that important fact gets lost in the discussion of long working hours and medical errors where the effect on only the physician's ability to function safely is considered.
Last edit by -jt on Dec 4, '02