Doctor Fatigue | Galligan Law
Patients aren’t the only ones suffering from decision fatigue. Believe it or not, physicians suffer from fatigue just like anyone else. According to a study, as the day passed on, doctors became more fatigued, which defaulted to them taking “shortcuts” or taking the “easy route” when assisting patients. For example, during the study, doctors who had experienced decision fatigue were more likely to write a prescription for an antibiotic rather than taking the time to explain to patients why it is not necessary. This resulted in patients leaving the doctor’s office with unnecessary prescriptions. In the same study, doctors were found to have prescribed fewer unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions for respiratory infections first thing in the morning. Doctor fatigue is a real problem that causes poor choices and errors when making important decisions.
As the day progresses, every doctor has had to make many important choices about another person’s wellbeing. Some doctors work long hours and expend a large amount of mental energy working will people all day. Other factors could come into play like the doctor’s overall health, glucose levels from not eating when needed, and lower energy and focus.
What is decision fatigue?
Simply put, decision fatigue is the decline of our ability to make good decisions after a long period of decision making. The more decisions you make all day long, the less likely you are at weighing all your options and making an educated, research-based choice. Have you ever made online impulse purchases late at night and then wondered why you would have bought what you did later? This is an example of the effects of decision fatigue, but it can happen at any time of day.
So what can physicians do to minimize the chances of fatigue-related medical errors? In a perfect world, physicians should strive to take regular breaks and work no more than 9 hour shifts. Although this scenario would help control doctor fatigue, the daily workload of doctors can be unpredictable and the opportunity to take breaks and have shorter shifts are limited. Overworked and overtired physicians are more likely to make mistakes, which can lead to medical errors. When your doctor is unable to effectively make good choices in your case, they ruin the risk of medical malpractice.
Iowa Malpractice Attorneys
Our Iowa medical malpractice attorneys and dedicated staff bring broad experience, expertise, care and commitment to each medical malpractice case we take on. We’ve evaluated and handled cases involving nearly every aspect of medical care. For example, we excel in cases pertaining to:
- Birth injuries
- Surgical errors
- Diagnosis errors and missed diagnosis
- Radiology errors
- Anesthesia errors
- Communication errors
- Failure to obtain informed consent for a procedure or treatment
- Improper or incorrect treatment
- Prescription errors
- Hospital negligence
- Medication errors.
Recent polls show that 1 in 5 Iowans believe they have been the victim of a medical error. Unfortunately, countless lives are destroyed or taken away at the hands of healthcare professions when medical errors occur. At Galligan Law, we follow a careful case review and selection process for all personal injury and medical malpractice lawsuits.