Many patients don't realize that truck drivers have more restrictions on the stretches of hours that they can work than surgeons and other physicians. Even though it's known that even slight sleep deprivation is comparable to being intoxicated by alcohol, doctors still work 12-hour shifts (or more) and then have to get up and do it all over again the next day.
Every resident has his or her own version of an "almost" moment where patient care was jeopardized by a sleep-deprived medical professional.
Only recently were residency hours capped at 80 hours per week, as per new regulations imposed by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. The limits of hours led to a measurable, decreased risk in patient mortality. Still, violations occur, with residents being urged to underreport their work hours.
One study done at Johns Hopkins found that over 250,000 patients die annually in America from preventable medical errors. If your care, or that of a loved one, was compromised by a sleepy surgeon or nodding nurse, you have a right to seek justice. In the case of a fatal medical error, the survivors can file a wrongful death lawsuit in the Texas courts.
While nothing can bring your loved one back to life after a medical error has caused or hastened their demise, holding the responsible parties liable for your losses and damages can lessen the financial impact of their death. It can also force the medical facilities and the health care community at large to rethink the policies and procedures that endanger vulnerable patients' lives.
Source: KevinMD.com, "Doctors are dangerously tired, and health care leaders aren’t taking action," Suvas Vajaracharya, PhD, accessed Dec. 29, 2017