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What is Doctor Fatigue?


As new advances are made in the medical field, doctors are able to see more patients than ever before. Unfortunately, case loads can sometimes become oppressive, leading doctors to suffer from fatigue. In fact, a study recently published by the Mayo Clinic and led by the Stanford University School of Medicine revealed that more than 50 percent of all doctors in the U.S. suffer from doctor fatigue, and as a result, are more than twice as likely to make serious medical errors.

Doctor fatigue can be linked to lower quality of care, reduced patient safety, and higher turnover rates, all of which can result in serious injuries. If you want to find out whether doctor fatigue played a role in your own injury, you should consider speaking with an experienced Florida medical malpractice lawyer who can evaluate your case and explain your legal options.

Defining Doctor Fatigue

Doctor fatigue is a work-related syndrome that is suffered by medical personnel and manifests as some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Emotional and physical exhaustion;
  • Reduced effectiveness;
  • Depression;
  • Depersonalization;
  • Suicidal thoughts; and
  • Feelings of cynicism.

Although workplace fatigue is not unique to the medical field, it does tend to be especially prevalent in these types of occupations, which involve high stress levels and intense interactions with patients and their families. Doctor fatigue is particularly dangerous, as it has been linked to:

  • Errors in medical judgment;
  • Higher rates of misdiagnosis; and
  • An increase in technical mistakes during complicated procedures.

For instance, a number of studies have established a definitive link between doctor fatigue and mis-prescribing drugs, ordering insufficient lab tests, and in some cases, patient death. In fact, the recent study undertaken by the Stanford University School of Medicine revealed that facilities where physician fatigue is common have a medical error rate that is three times higher than the national average.

Why Doctor Fatigue is Concerning

Fatigue is usually the result of an excessive workload, high stress levels, or a lack of sleep, all of which can prove dangerous, especially for medical professionals whose actions directly affect the wellbeing of their patients. Fatigued doctors and nurses are more likely to misdiagnose a patient, make errors during surgical procedures, fail to properly complete medical charts and take patient histories, fail to order the appropriate tests, and to prescribe the wrong medications. These kinds of errors can result in severe side effects for patients who could end up needing to undergo additional treatment, suffering from permanent disability, or even losing their lives.

Contact Our Legal Team Today

If you were injured when a doctor made an error due to fatigue, you could be eligible to recover compensation. Please call one of the dedicated Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice lawyers at Boone & Davis to learn more about filing your own claim for damages. You can reach a member of our team by calling 954-566-9919 or by sending us an online message. Initial consultations are conducted free of charge.



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