Chicago Medical Malpractice Attorney says Recent ‘Alert’ Should Wake Medical Community to Risks of Fatigue

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Patrick A. Salvi of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. says medical professionals must address ‘malpractice’ that can result from overly lengthy and consecutive work shifts.

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Illinois medical malpractice lawyer Patrick A. Salvi

As evidence mounts indicating the link between fatigue and poor judgment or execution among medical professionals, it is increasingly appropriate to consider assigning or assuming overly lengthy work hours to be medical malpractice.

Chicago medical malpractice attorney Patrick A. Salvi said today that an accrediting agency’s recent alert about the link between health care worker fatigue and adverse events is further evidence that medical professionals need to curtail extended and consecutive work shifts.

“As evidence mounts indicating the link between fatigue and poor judgment or execution among medical professionals, it is increasingly appropriate to consider assigning or assuming overly lengthy work hours to be medical malpractice,” said Salvi, the managing equity partner at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., a leading Illinois medical malpractice law firm with offices in Cook and Lake counties.

“This is a matter in which the medical profession can and should police itself,” Salvi said. “It is time for all medical professionals to be honest with themselves and each other, and to stop pushing themselves beyond their capabilities and into situations that can potentially harm their patients.”

The Joint Commission, an independent, not-for-profit accrediting agency, said in a recent Sentinel Event Alert publication that “a substantial number of studies [indicate] that the practice of extended work hours contributes to high levels of worker fatigue and reduced productivity” among medical workers.

The alert cites five studies indicating that “fatigue increases the risk of adverse events, compromises patient safety, and increases risk to personal safety and well-being.”

The Joint Commission, which certifies more than 19,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States, advises medical organizations to assess and, if necessary, revise staffing policies.

Salvi said that medical professionals at all levels have a duty to avoid attending to patients when they are unduly fatigued.

“Doctors, nurses, medical technicians and hospital administrators know the risks fatigue poses to patients, and they know the risks to their organizations when bad practices lead to medical errors that harm patients,” Salvi said. “Being sensible about the issue of medical fatigue is in everyone’s best interest.”

The attorneys of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard have investigated thousands of cases of medical malpractice and negligence in the Chicago and Waukegan areas, and the firm has obtained more than $620 million in compensation for clients through personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits against doctors, surgeons, hospitals and other health care organizations.

Salvi said fatigue can be a factor behind surgical errors and hospital negligence that have been found to be actionable through medical malpractice lawsuits.

“Anyone who has been injured or who has a family member who has been harmed or has died in a hospital setting should have an experienced legal team review the medical records related to the incident,” Salvi said.

“Until the medical community properly deals with fatigue as a factor in medical errors, it will be necessary to apply pressure through legal action, such as medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuits,” the veteran attorney said.

About Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C.

Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. is a leading Illinois medical malpractice law firm with offices in Chicago and Waukegan. The firm represents clients in matters involving emergency room errors, failure to diagnose, hospital negligence, physician error, birth injuries, surgical malpractice, anesthesia errors, organ puncture/perforation, post-operative and pre-operation malpractice and surgical complications. The firm’s success in medical negligence, personal injury and wrongful death cases features recoveries of more than $620 million on behalf of its clients, including more than 175 multimillion-dollar verdicts or settlements. To learn more about Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., call (847) 249-1227 or use the firm’s online contact form.

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