Job Safety

January 4, 2005

Medical Errors

It is now well established that many errors are made by doctors, nurses and interns. Some of these errors can be horrendous.

Let me say immediately that doctors, nurses and interns are incredibly dedicated and careful. But the hours they work can be enough to put anyone into a state of exhaustion. Interns, for example, work over 80 hours per week on average.

This year, with the help of a NIOSH grant, we plan to conduct an extensive study of the alertness of doctors and interns at a leading East Cost hospital in the Boston area. This will be done with the full cooperation of staff and the medical group we will be testing. They recognize the problem and want to find a way to help without sacrificing efficient operations. Our hope is that through testing we will be able to identify when some individuals are too tired to work and make shift changes to better the alertness of all.