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When might medical professionals in Washington make errors?

Many people in Washington may notice that they feel drowsy in the mid-afternoon, even if they have gotten a good night's sleep. While this might affect the productivity of an office worker, it can be downright dangerous in other professions. For example, drowsiness on the part of doctors and nurses could lead to medical mistakes that harm patients.

For example, a Duke University review determined that anesthesiologists were more apt to make errors between the hours of 3:00 and 4:00 in the afternoon. Also, shift changes in hospitals often take place around 3:00 in the afternoon. Sometimes, this means an entirely different set of workers take over existing operations. If a drowsy surgeon, physician, nurse or anesthesiologist fails to provide their replacement with critical information regarding their patients, mistakes could be made.

It's not just hospital workers who are affected by the "3 p.m. slump." For example, one study determined that physicians performing colonoscopies were less likely to identify potential problems as the hours pass by. In addition, a 2015 study reported that medical professionals whose shifts began in the morning were almost 40 percent less likely to properly wash their hands before examining patients in the afternoon.

This news is concerning, because we all rely on medical professionals to make our illnesses and injuries better, not worse. If negligence on the part of a medical professional causes a patient to suffer a worsened condition, it could affect the patient for the rest of their life. Therefore, some patients in these situations choose to pursue medical malpractice lawsuits. Doing so is one way not only for patients to receive the compensation they need following a medical mistake, but also to hold negligent medical professionals accountable for their actions.

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