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Most people understand that the life of a surgeon can be far from glamorous, as these highly trained medical professionals must manage sizeable patient loads, extreme stress and, of course, frequent sleep deprivation.
While this is accepted as part of the culture, a growing number of experts have raised the question in recent years as to whether this lack of sleep on the part of surgeons can perhaps be dangerous for patients.
Indeed, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association back in 2009 by researchers at Boston-based Brigham and Women’s Hospital found surgeons who performed a procedure, slept for six hours or less, and then went on to perform another procedure had complication rates that were 170 percent higher than their counterparts who slept for six-plus hours between procedures.
As eye-opening a finding like this was, a group of researchers from the University of Toronto published a study in the New England Journal of Medicine just a few weeks ago effectively calling it into question.
Here, the researchers created a pool of almost 39,000 surgical procedures — consisting of 12 elective surgeries ranging from hip replacements to hysterectomies — performed by 1,448 experienced surgeons at 147 hospitals throughout Ontario over a five-year period.
Using billing codes, they then identified circumstances in which surgeons performed a procedure between midnight and 7 a.m. and later went on to perform another surgery during the daytime, effectively splitting the study pool into two: an overnight group and a daytime group.
We will examine what exactly the researchers discovered in our next post. In the meantime, please consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible if you believe that your loved one has been victimized by any sort of surgical error as an attorney can help uncover what went wrong and who must be held accountable.