June 3, 2010 | Mark Paradies

Article Tries to Justify Fatigued Doctors


A TapRooT® User passed along an article about doctor fatigue. His comment? The medical industry really needs TapRooT®.

Here’s the article:

The article tries to justify fatigued doctors by showing some problems that reduced work hours might create.

Instead of applying techniques to fix these new problems, they imply that fatigued (error-prone) doctors may be the only answer.

For example, they quoted an article by two Vanderbilt surgeons that claimed that more than 80-hour work weeks were required to allow surgical trainees to learn techniques, dexterity, and stamina required in their profession.

Perhaps the surgeons should have been looking for more effective ways for students to learn and develop the skills they need since long hours are not the only way to learn (and adequate sleep is needed to embed even muscle memory – like that needed for basketball or surgery).

I’ve worked 80-hour weeks under high stress. I’ve done 24, 36, and even 72-hour workdays. I can tell you that you don’t want a doctor near the end of a 36-hour shift (or even at 4 AM if they came in to work the previous day at lunch.

Don’t buy the argument that fatigued doctors are just a fact of life. Every problem mentioned has solutions. Fatigued doctors ARE NOT the solution. They are one of the problems that keep people from getting quality care.

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