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Can exhaustion lead to medical malpractice?

On Behalf of | Nov 17, 2021 | Medical Malpractice

For years, the professional medical scene has witnessed a troubling trend. More and more hospitals suffer from understaffing problems, which directly tie into overworked nurses and medical staff. In turn, this contributes directly to medical error and negligence.

Thus, exhaustion can and does often lead directly to issues with medical malpractice. And even more troubling still, the numbers of exhausted workers and medical mistakes both continue to rise.

Effects of exhaustion

The Nurses Service Organization discusses the dangerous impact exhaustion can have on medical workplaces. Medical professionals are not immune from the effects of exhaustion on the body. When overworked and sleep-deprived, all humans will suffer from the same side effects. This can include confusion, forgetfulness, agitation, trouble controlling emotions, and the inability to concentrate or react to risky situations appropriately.

Many mistakes happen in medical settings due to exhaustion. A tired nurse could forget to check on a patient. They might accidentally swap medications. They could miss the signs of a brewing infection, or improperly clean a piece of medical equipment. Accidental injury and the spread of disease both end up facilitated by exhaustion.

An increase in overworked staff

These days, the problem with understaffing and overworked employees has only gotten worse, especially in light of turbulent times. More nurses take on more jobs and longer hours, resulting in less care given to each individual patient. This also leads to a higher rate of mistakes that carry potentially deadly and devastating consequences with them.

In short, rising rates of exhaustion in workers puts everyone at risk, as tired medical staff members have a higher likelihood of doing something to accidentally harm patients.