On behalf of Weisman, Kennedy & Berris Co., L.P.A. posted in medical malpractice on Wednesday, May 30, 2012.

There are some workplaces where we wish errors never occurred. Hospitals undoubtedly rank high on that list. Yet mistakes do happen, and a new study indicates that fatigue may be a significant cause of medical errors in Cleveland and across the country.

According to a study recently published in the Archives of Surgery, surgical residents may work under fatigue nearly half the time, resulting in cognitive functioning at around 80% of full capacity. To put that in context, mental functioning while legally drunk (a blood alcohol level of 0.08%) is around 70%. The study is one of the first to quantify resident surgeon fatigue and the accompanying risk of medical error.

According to a report from the Institute of Medicine, around 98,000 deaths a year are caused by medical errors. Another report by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) indicates that U.S. surgeons may operate on the wrong body part as often as 40 times a week.

A lawsuit may be one way to deter medical negligence and provide fair compensation to victims of surgical error. Unfortunately, it’s usually an uphill battle. According to another research study which examined more than 10,000 medical malpractice law suits from around the country, the average claim took 19 months to resolve, and only 4.5% of those suits even reached the stage of a jury trial. Once there, ever fewer of the victims won: more than half were dismissed, and most of the remaining claims ended in settlement.

If you or a loved one has been injured and you believe that the doctor was at fault, don’t delay in consulting an attorney: Ohio state law typically requires a medical malpractice claim to be brought within a specified time after the injury. An attorney can help you prepare your best claim and obtain the compensation you deserve.

Source: Huffington Post, “Sleepy Surgeons: New Study Shines Light On Risks Of Surgeon Fatigue,” Catherine Pearson, May 21, 2012