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Study indicates doctor errors caused by heavy work loads

With a shortage of doctors, those in the medical profession will have even more patients to care for as more and more people get access to affordable and regular health care. This could lead to increased risks of doctor errors being made.

One doctor addresses the increasing workload and says that increased patient loads could create issues where patients are victims of medical errors. Hospital-based doctors in particular find themselves having to take on more serious cases that a specialist would normally handle, thereby creating more risk in addition to less expert care for patients who could otherwise benefit from a specialist.

The doctor's admission is in response to a report recently released that indicates doctors in hospitals with more than 15 patients under their care during a shift have a higher chance of making mistakes. In fact, 36 percent of the doctors questioned in the study said that delayed diagnosis and medical errors happen regularly. The data indicate that large workloads for hospital doctors are a common problem found across the country. More than 500 hospital-based doctors were surveyed as part of the study.

It is clear that these doctors are concerned for the well-being of the patients placed in their care and hopefully hospital administrators will take the findings of the report to prevent their doctors from becoming overworked. However, unless the current system puts in measures to protect these doctors and entice more people to enter the medical field, it seems likely that it is the patients who will suffer the most.

Source: HealthDay, "1 in 5 Hospital Docs Reports 'Unsafe' Workloads: Study," Denise Mann, Jan. 28, 2013

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