Workers in various industries experience a lull in the afternoon where drowsiness sets in and productivity declines. This afternoon slump affects doctors and nurses too, increasing the risk for medical mistakes and negligence. This is the first important reason why people should avoid, when possible, scheduling an afternoon visit with their doctor. New Jersey residents can read on to discover five other good reasons.
The second is that anesthesiologists make more mistakes in the afternoon. A Duke University study found that the risk for an anesthesiologist mistake is 1 percent at 9 a.m. but 4.2 percent at 4 p.m. The third reason is that shift changes take place then, typically at 3 p.m. This means that one's surgery, for example, could be completed by a different team than the one that began it. Miscommunication between the two teams can have serious consequences.
Fourth, doctors are more likely to prescribe antibiotics for every situation rather than analyze each patient's symptoms. In addition, doctors are less likely to detect polyps, which are red flags for cancer. A study of over 1,000 colonoscopies found that with every passing hour, the detection rate decreased by 5 percent.
Lastly, doctors and nurses are more likely to neglect to wash their hands. A study of caregivers found that those whose shifts began in the morning were 38 percent less likely to wash their hands in the afternoon.
Medical mistakes do not always arise from negligence; it must be proven that there was an existing doctor-patient relationship and that the doctor failed to live up to an objective standard of care. Victims who are thinking about filing a medical malpractice claim may want to consult with a lawyer. A legal professional might request an inquiry with the medical board and hire third-party experts to show the exact extent of the injuries.