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1 in 5 Hospital Doctors Say Working Conditions Are Unsafe

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1 in 5 Hospital Doctors Say Working Conditions Are Unsafe

Doctors say that working conditions in 1 out of 5 American hospitals are unsafe…

A new study finds that 4 out of every 10 doctors working in U.S. hospitals say they are overworked.

America’s health care system has never been known as the best in the world, but recent studies have shown that now 4 out of every 10 hospitals doctors are overworked, and 1 out of 5 say that during those busy times, patient safety is at risk.

The survey, which involved more than 500 hospital-based doctors, found that 20 percent said being over worked could lead to delayed diagnosis, unnecessary lab tests, incomplete patient discussion, medical errors and even death. A total of 36 percent said that these issues occur more than once a week.

The study aims to bring attention to working conditions in or to reduce medical errors in the nation’s hospitals. As many as 98,000 people die each year while in the hospital due to preventable medical errors, according to a landmark Institute of Medicine report issued in 2000.

america hospital working conditions unsafe 550x366 1 in 5 Hospital Doctors Say Working Conditions Are Unsafe

Doctors Say America’s Hospital Working Conditions Are Unsafe

Image Credit: KOMUnews, 2011.

Study co-author Dr. Henry Michtalik, an assistant professor in the division of general internal medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, said:

“The new study recognizes that not only are [overworked doctors] a problem, but it’s a very common problem that is experienced across the country in different types of hospitals with different kinds of patients…

“I was surprised by the high percentages. We did not expect the numbers to be minimal, but we did not expect them to be as high as 40 percent.”

Michtalik said that a number of factors are putting pressure on hospital doctors. Firstly, new limits placed on the hours that resident physicians (new doctors in training) can work, and some states have also passed laws that seek to fine-tune the nurses’ working environment.

Although these new measure have benefits, it often creates more work for doctors in hospitals, Michtalik said.

Other factors including the aging of the patient population and the complex nature of chronic diseases, as well as recent changes to the health care system may make this situation worse before it gets better, Michtalik said.

The changes have led to more subspecialists taking less in-hospital work, which results in an increased workload for hospital-based physicians.

Experts hope that the findings, which were published in the Jan. 28 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, will spark a discussion about the constraints placed on doctors and how to in order to improve working conditions.

Ultimately such studies could lead to an improvement in hospital conditions and doctor workload, however considering the current state of America’s health care system, the journey looks set to be a long one.

For many, the services offered by hospitals and medical insurance in American are unsatisfactory, especially when it comes to elective surgeries. This has lead to increase in medical tourism as more people opt to have cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries abroad.


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  1. 1 in 5 hospital docs reports ‘unsafe’ workloads: study. MSN, 28/01/2012.

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