Monday, December 15, 2008

Internist Cites Unfamiliarity With Patients, Not Lack of Sleep, as Cause of Mistakes

Internist Jay Resnick tells the NY Times that "Further shortening hospital doctors’ workweeks will only increase the mistakes patients endure. The all-too-frequent errors my patients encounter when hospitalized are almost always caused by doctors who don’t know them well enough, not by doctors who are too sleepy. . . . Every patient should have a doctor who is in charge throughout the entire hospital stay. Internet technology should make that resident available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, through real-time audiovisual links . . . . Error rates would drop, the quality of care would improve and doctors in training could experience the emotional rewards of actually shepherding someone through an illness. And the length of the on-site workweek could be reduced."

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