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Hours worked by First-year Residents May be Reduced

According to a news report issued Friday in the journal Nature & Science of Sleep journal, new rules for first year residents may be updated to reduce the number of hours which they are allowed to work. The report concludes that residents should not work more than 16 hours straight. This will not apply to more experienced residents who may work up to 28 hours at one time.

Recommendations for the changes were made by the Institute of Medicine which admits the changes could cost as much as $1.7 billion as hospitals make up for the staffing shortfall by hiring additional hospital workers.

More strict working hours were also recommended by another group of doctors and safety experts but they also recommended that all resident physician’s hours be reduced to 12 or 16 hours. They argue these changes could help prevent an estimated 180,000 patient deaths which U.S. statistics indicate die each year due to sub-par medical care.

According to Dr. Christopher Landrigan, who was one of the authors of the report, the higher cost for hiring additional medical staff may be offset by the cost of the medical errors. He also noted that the system has become too dangerous. "What started as a good system has evolved into a system where the residents are extremely sleep deprived, caring for some of the sickest patients in the country, and that's a set-up for disaster.”

Another co-author of the report, Dr. Lucian Leape, adjunct professor of health policy at the Harvard School of Public Health, agrees, “Few people enter a hospital expecting that their care and safety are in the hands of someone who has been working a double-shift or more with no sleep.” Dr. Lucian believes the practice of overworking staff is harmful to patients and that if the patients knew what was happening, most of them would either leave the hospital or ask for another physician.

The report, which was generated after a conference at Harvard Medical School last year, also suggested increased supervision for residents and allowing them to avoid routine tasks such as paperwork and blood draws that could easily be done by other staff members.

Medical Malpractice Law

Most people do not think about medical malpractice until they are injured. If you have been injured form the negligent actions of a medical practitioner you have the right to file a medical malpractice lawsuit and receive compensation for your loss.
Medical malpractice is part of personal injury law and to recover damages you must prove the following:

• Your doctor owed you a duty of care.
• Your doctor breached their duty. This can be proven if you have evidence which proves that your doctor or surgeon was negligent, failed to take appropriate action or did not care for you in the same way another doctor in a similar situation would have done.
• The doctor’s breach of duty was the proximate cause of your injuries. To prove causation you will need to prove that you would not have suffered injury or loss if the surgeon or doctor had not made the mistake.
• You have suffered loss or injury from the breach of duty. Loss can include economic loss such as lost wages or medical costs or it can include pain and suffering.

Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim

If you have been injured from the negligence of a healthcare profession, contact a medical malpractice lawyer. Personal injury lawyers who specialize in medical malpractice claims understand medical malpractice law and can help you gather the appropriate evidence, find experts willing to testify about your claim and either negotiate a medical malpractice settlement offer or take your case to court.

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