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"Doctor fatigue" is no laughing matter

On Behalf of The Foley Law Firm | May 1, 2021

Doctors are just like everyone else: When they get overly fatigued, they make mistakes.

This is sometimes presented in a humorous light. Some doctors have talked about forgetting simple things -- such as how to use a smartphone -- or saying “I love you” at the end of a phone conversation with a co-worker or a pharmacy. They call these kinds of mistakes “doctor fails,” and everyone gets a good laugh when hearing how these exhausted doctors try to cope.

Small mistakes can reveal serious problems with fatigue

This raises some serious safety concerns. For instance, if a doctor is so exhausted that they forget they’re talking to a coworker and not their spouse, how accurate is everything that they said to that coworker? Maybe they were calling to give an update on a patient’s condition. Was the update accurate? Did they forget any crucial details? Are they confused about which patient they’re even discussing?

Or imagine that your doctor is so tired that he or she can’t remember how to use a smartphone properly. That may sound funny, but most of the technology in a modern hospital is vastly more complex than a phone. Can you trust that doctor to safely use computers and high-tech medical gadgets if the latest iPhone is too much for them? Fatigue can make it difficult for a doctor to process what they're reading and lead to errors in data entry.

Did your doctor's fatigue lead to medical malpractice?

If your doctor is overly fatigued, you could suffer from serious harm due to medical malpractice and critical mistakes. Make sure you know exactly what steps to take to seek compensation. If you're not sure what to do next, it may be time to speak to an attorney.

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