Illinois Medical Negligence Lawyer Backs Requiring Sleep-Deprived Surgeons to Warn Patients

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Patrick A. Salvi of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. says sleep-deprivation can lead to many kinds of malpractice injuries.

sleep deprivation adversely affects clinical performance and impairs psychomotor performance as severely as alcohol intoxication.

A Chicago medical malpractice attorney endorses a proposal to require sleep-deprived surgeons to acknowledge their sleepiness to patients before performing elective surgery.

The proposal is put forth in the December issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Among other resources, the article refers to a National Academies Press study from 2008 that says “sleep deprivation adversely affects clinical performance and impairs psychomotor performance as severely as alcohol intoxication.”

The Sleep Research Society has endorsed model legislation that would require physicians who have been awake for 22 of the previous 24 hours to “inform their patients of the extent and potential safety impact of their sleep deprivation and to obtain consent from such patients prior to providing clinical care or performing any medical or surgical procedures,” the Journal says.

“We’d like to say we’re surprised this is a problem – doctors not informing their patients that they aren’t in shape to operate or otherwise care for them – but we know better,” said Patrick A. Salvi, the managing equity partner at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, who focuses his practice on Illinois medical malpractice cases.

“We know, too, that re-scheduling any surgery, even an elective procedure, is not always a simple task,” Salvi said. “But it is a matter of the simplest integrity to advise a patient that their surgeon hasn’t slept, and that this is a safety factor they need to weigh.”

In addition to medically based sleep disorders or personal problems, surgeons are susceptible to being sleep-deprived when they are on call for emergencies, the article says.

Salvi, whose firm has recovered millions of dollars in compensation for surgical malpractice and other medical negligence claims in Cook and Lake counties and throughout Illinois, says there are many types of surgical errors that could be attributed to a doctor’s incapacity.

These negligent acts include wrong-site surgery, nerve damage, organ perforation, and even leaving items such as sponges and clamps inside of a patient, which can cause internal bleeding and infection.

“We’ve seen too many people who have been injured by surgical errors,” Salvi said. “And while we proudly stand up for them to obtain proper redress on their behalf, these injuries should never have occurred.

“If surgeons cannot be counted on to remove themselves from elective surgeries when it’s appropriate to do so, such as in cases of sleep deprivation,” the Illinois medical negligence attorney said, “then there must be regulations in place requiring them to notify their patients of the circumstances of their procedures.”

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 recovering more than $585 million on behalf of its clients, including more than 160 multi-million dollar verdicts or settlements. To learn more about Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., call (847) 249-1227 or use the firm’s online form.

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