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Doctors and nurses have differing opinions on OR hours caps

Doctors and nurses in Iowa and the rest of the United States generally agree on the need to provide optimal patient care. However, these professionals don’t exactly see eye to eye when it comes to the possibility of capping operating room hours. This is the main takeaway from the results of a poll that was conducted by an online medical information website that included questions addressing this topic. Nearly 60 percent of the physicians surveyed agreed that surgeon hours should be limited while just under 90 percent of nurses and advanced practice nurses felt this way.

More nurses than doctors – 89 and 62 percent respectively – also agreed that OR hours for nurses and anesthesiologists should be restricted. Supporters of caps on OR hours often make a comparison between surgeons and airline pilots when discussing the differences regarding how work hours are handled. An argument could also be made that fatigued doctors and nurses may be more likely to make the kind of mistakes that could lead to errors and costly medical malpractice litigation.

An orthopedic surgeon commenting on a related story about OR hours called the comparison to airline pilots unfair, noting that most patients wouldn’t feel safe or comfortable having one surgeon swapped with another one mid-operation. On the topic of whether surgeons should be monitored for substance abuse and other negative behaviors that could impact their capabilities, 20 percent more nurses than doctors agreed. Similar results were reported when respondents were asked if other OR staff should be monitored for the same purpose.

Should a surgical error occur, an attorney can help a patient explore legal options specific to medical malpractice. Factors that may be considered include a surgeon’s experience with the type of procedure that was performed, whether the mistake or oversight was avoidable and how alert and prepared the surgeon was during the operation. Depending on the circumstances involved, an affected patient may be entitled to compensation for related medical expenses, loss of the ability to work and physical and emotional distress.

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