“When fatigue sets in, we in the medical and nursing team are less empathetic with patients and colleagues, vigilance becomes more variable, and logical reasoning is affected, making it hard for us to calculate, for example, the correct dose of drugs a patient might need,” Redfern said, according to the Guardian.
“We find it hard to think flexibly, or to retain new information, which makes it difficult to manage quickly changing emergency situations. Our mood gets worse, so our teamwork suffers. Hence, everything that makes us and our patients safe is affected.”
Moreover, Redfern told the Observer, “Fatigue played a key role in accidents like Chernobyl and the Exxon Valdez disaster. As a result of these spectacularly horrendous incidents, these industries had to make legal changes to prevent fatigue and further disasters.
“Meanwhile in the health service, we just go on quietly dying one at a time,” she added. “There has been no push to bring things up to date. Doctors and nurses are still being asked to work long hours and into the early hours.”
Redfern said the health care industry should be required to put formal risk management systems in place — just like in every other safety-critical industry, including pilots and truck drivers.
“Healthcare workers have the same physiology as employees in other safety-critical industries,” she said. “They require the same protection.”
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