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Idaho Medical Errors May Be Affected by Surgical Start Time

Idaho surgical errors attorneyThere are many complications that may arise during surgery. Patients cannot control the risks of all potential complications, but they can educate themselves about certain risk factors. According to a recent study, one possible risk factor is the time of day during which a surgery is performed. An Idaho medical malpractice attorney can help victims identify all liable defendants responsible for their surgical error injuries and help them seek appropriate compensation.

What the Data Shows About the Timing of Surgery

A piece in The Atlantic reviewed the medical literature to identify the most dangerous times of day for surgery to be performed. One study found that with every passing hour on a day spent performing colonoscopies, a gastroenterologist was 4.6 percent less likely to identify colon polyps. Similarly, a study at Duke University Medical Center found that complications from surgical anesthesia were more than four times higher at 4 p.m. than at 9 a.m.

These effects were found in labor and delivery as well. Women were found to be more likely to have an unplanned C-section if they were in labor between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. on a Friday. This has been described as the "rush hour effect," in which obstetricians are eager to finish their active labor cases in anticipation of the weekend. Sadly, the timing of labor and delivery was also found to affect neonatal mortality rates in yet another study. Babies born in a nighttime delivery were found to be 25 percent more likely to die than babies born in a daytime delivery.

Other interesting findings about the timing of surgery were also noted. One study found that patients admitted to the hospital on public holidays were 48 percent more likely to be dead in one week than patients admitted on non-holidays. Other studies offered contrasting findings about the "July effect" on medical errors. In the American medical education program, the academic year begins on July 1. As a result, thousands of new interns and residents all begin work on the same day. Some studies have found an increase in medical errors during July could be traced to this volume of inexperience. However, other studies have concluded that there is no difference in medical errors between July and other months. Because of this conflicting data, patients are wise to investigate their particular facility, so they can make an informed decision about when to undergo surgeries, if they have any say in the matter.

It's important to point out that no matter what time of day or month of the year, doctors, nurses and other caregivers have a duty to provide reasonably prudent care.

Medical Professionals Have a Legal Duty of Care to Patients

Medical professionals who do not act in accordance with a reasonably prudent professional standard can be liable to patients for their negligence. The medical community has enacted various efforts to both improve patient care and reduce liability. CNN reports that the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons has launched a "sign your site" initiative, which encourages surgeons to check and initial the patient's surgical site prior to beginning an operation. Other facilities and practitioners use a "surgical time out." This requires the entire surgical staff to stop before a surgery begins to confirm that the patient, the operation, and the surgical site are all correct.

While these measures are important steps toward reducing surgical errors, more needs to be done to avoid surgical errors, and negligent providers need to be held accountable. With the legal advice of an Idaho surgical errors attorney, victims can better protect their rights after experiencing any type of medical malpractice.

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