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Should Patients Be Informed Before Surgery if Their Doctor is Sleep Deprived?

By Attorney Michael B. Zerres on January 14, 2011

It is widely believed that sleep deprivation impairs performance as severely as alcohol intoxication.

A recent article published by The New England Journal of Medicine discussed the impact a physician’s sleep deprivation has on their job performance, and asserted that patients should be informed of a doctor’s lack of sleep before an elective surgical procedure.

According to the article, there is an 83 percent increased risk of complications (such as an organ injury or massive hemorrhage) in patients who undergo elective surgical procedures performed by an attending surgeon who had less than 6 hours of sleep between procedures (during an on-call night shift). Read the rest »


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