Dangerously tired doctors have the least experience

For doctors, having little experience makes mistakes more likely. So does being overly fatigued. If these things are a risk for truck drivers and others in less high-stress professions, certainly they take a toll on doctors.

So why do we let both things strike at once?

Medical residents are those who have gone to school and graduated, but they're now working in medical centers to gain experience. They do this, typically, for three years. They work closely with supervising doctors, who are supposed to ensure that patients still get a high level of care even when the resident is learning the ropes.

Clearly, medical residents already lack experience. There's no way to fix that except with the training programs that they're in, so time on the job is all that can really counter it.

However, medical residents are also allowed to work very long shifts. In some cases, they're put on the clock for 30 hours in a row.

Think about how tired you feel after working just 10 hours in a day, going two hours over your standard eight-hour day. Then think about how tired you feel when you stay up two or three hours too late and don't get to bed until 2 in the morning.

It's far worse for medical residents. Not only are they up for more than 30 hours straight, but they're working in one of the most high-stress environments in the world for the entire time. It's very easy to see how this dangerous combination could lead to serious medical mistakes, and patients' very lives could be on the line.

Those who are harmed must know if they have a right to financial compensation.

Source: Huffington Post, "Our Least Experienced Doctors Are Dangerously Tired," Krithika Varagur, accessed Jan. 12, 2018

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