When you’re tired, you make more mistakes. It’s true in everything you do. Drowsy driving leads to car accidents. Feeling too tired when taking an exam in college leads to more wrong answers. How many times have you made an error while exhausted that you never would have made otherwise? It happens to all of us.
For doctors, it’s a serious issue. An exhausted doctor who just worked 24 hours or more in a row could make mistakes that impact your health for the rest of your life. That’s not a risk you should ever have to take, but it does happen.
For instance, one doctor was working 120-hour work weeks. He was “on the brink of awareness.” Eventually, it got so bad that he passed out on the way to work and crashed his car.
That event was eye-opening for that specific doctor. He survived, though with serious injuries.
But here’s the other side of the equation: He never got to work. What if he had? If he was so tired before he even started his shift that he could pass out behind the wheel, is there any chance that he could have worked safely? Could he really provide the care that patients deserve? What about after he had been on the job for another eight hours? It’s worrisome to think that people could have seen him that day, in that condition, with serious health concerns.
If you ever feel like your doctor is too tired to treat you, you may be right. When that leads to mistakes, you need to know what legal options you have.