In what may come as surprising news to people in Arizona, the time of day when a person goes to the hospital may affect the quality of care that he or she receives. While some of these issues may simply reflect the body's natural rhythms, people depend on health care professionals for accurate diagnosis and precise treatment throughout the day. However, doctors, nurses and others are not exempt from the slump that many people feel at around 3:00 p.m. Productivity can decline at this time as people get tired, and fatigue among healthcare professionals can have serious consequences.
Anesthesiologists are some of the most highly trained professionals at the hospital, dealing with powerful drugs with all the precision required. However, in one study of 90,000 surgeries, anesthesiologists were found to be more likely to make medical mistakes during procedures that began around 3:00 p.m. or 4:00 p.m. While anesthesiologists were only 1 percent likely to make a mistake at 9:00 a.m., at 4:00 p.m., the same risk rises to 4.2 percent. The likelihood of a mistake causing harm to the patient also rose with the afternoon timing.
While healthcare professionals lead the pack in warning about the dangerous overuse of antibiotics to treat a wide range of non-bacterial illnesses, people who visit the hospital in the afternoon may be more likely to receive them. Doctors prescribe more antibiotics in the afternoon than they do in the morning, likely due to fatigue after a long day.
Medical errors can be mild, but they can also carry severe consequences and lead to lifelong injuries and disabilities. People who have been hurt as a result of a doctor's mistake or hospital negligence may benefit from consulting with a medical malpractice attorney about seeking compensation for damages.