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Time may affect quality of surgery

Time may affect quality of surgery

Illinois residents may be surprised to learn that some medical procedures are safer at certain times of the day than others. A variety of studies indicate that doctor errors are more likely to occur later in the day and that giving birth may be riskier at night. Results from the studies may indicate that doctors suffer from fatigue as the day progresses and are more likely to make mistakes.

According to a study of Duke University Medical Center surgeries, the chance of an anesthesia related problem occurring at 4 p.m. is 4.3 percent, but at 9 a.m., the rate is only 1 percent. Anesthesiologists are not the only ones whose abilities may suffer in the late afternoon. The average gastroenterologist performing a colonoscopy is 4.6 percent less likely to identify colon polyps for every hour that passes.

People who seek medical care may also be more likely to undergo a surgery if it is later in the day. According to information published in the Journal of Health Economics in 1996, women are more likely to have an unplanned C‑section performed on them on Fridays between 3 and 9 p.m. Giving birth later at night may also be riskier than during the day. A study from California found that there is a 25 percent higher risk of infant mortality for nighttime deliveries than daytime births.

It is up to the medical community to ensure that doctors and nurses are not providing poor patient care due to being exhaustion. If someone has been harmed by a negligent medical professional, they may have legal recourse. A lawyer could help individuals understand their options and help them pursue compensation.

Source: The Atlantic, “The Worst Time to Have Surgery“, James Hamblin, June 19, 2013

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