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HogSliceFurBottom t1_j20lzid wrote

Similar to the treatment of Ignaz Semmelweis when he discovered washing hands saved lives, today's medical world ignores the facts that sleep deprivation causes mistakes which results in patient deaths.

The profession prides itself on working long hours even though evidence shows sleep deprivation is equal to or worse than being drunk. Pilots, truck drivers, air traffic controllers all work under regulated hours, but the medical world's hubris blinds them into believing they are impervious and the exception.

Medical error is estimated to be the 3rd leading cause of death in the US leading to 250,000 deaths each year. It's unconscionable that the profession does not take proactive steps to minimize these errors by starting with the elimination of sleep deprivation.

The model of working longs hours in residency was promoted by Dr. William Halstead, a cocaine addict, who expected his residents to be on-call 362 days a year and handle a workload that was difficult to maintain without artificial stimulants. It's a deadly rite of passage that continues today.

I haven't even mentioned the effects on residents and doctors themselves. Many residents and doctors commit suicide because of sleep deprivation or in the very least, develop mental illness. And guess what? Seeking mental help in the medical world is frowned upon; especially for students. Mental illness among the ranks is a mark of disgrace. The medical profession disregarding the Hippocratic Oath for their own is one of the worst ironic hypocrisies in the modern world.


fastspinecho t1_j213rno wrote

> Medical error is estimated to be the 3rd leading cause of death in the US leading to 250,000 deaths each year.

This is a highly controversial article. Among other things, it considers any intervention that leads to patient death an "error".

In other words, suppose you have an advanced brain tumor. Without treatment, you will die in 6 months. Your surgeon offers an operation that can cure you, but has a 10% mortality risk. You accept the risk.

According to that paper, if you die on the operating table then your death will be counted among the 250000 "deaths by medical error". To avoid errors, surgeons should not operate at all on high risk patients.

I don't think most people would equate known risk with medical error. And that's the only way the authors end up with such a high figure.


shapesize t1_j20r2bk wrote

All of that is true, except they’re not enough of us. Most sub-subspecialists are the only ones at a given institution. The decades of training and dedication is not something that everyone can (or wants) to do. Laws aren’t really helpful here, as obviously you’re not going to let a patient suffer just because there is no one else to handoff too. Of course, that means in the end the physician and their family suffer, but unfortunately that comes with the territory. Mostly people need to understand and have respect and patience for their doctors.


YoureGrammarWronger t1_j20tv70 wrote

At one of the hospitals I cover, we’re down to one urologist who takes all the calls. Because the other two left and there aren’t any others to help.