New residents in North Carolina might work 28 hours instead of the 16-hour shift that was approved in 2011. This new change raises concerns due to the proof of threatening situations that have occurred when new residents were not alert while working. Evidence has also shown the dangers that await when tired residents get behind the wheel.
The new resident shift proposal is cause for concern. Despite evidence, some doctors see it as a hindrance because it reduces the training and development residents need particularly regarding emergency situations. The proposal has not been approved yet, but the final outcome is expected to be given in February after voting.
While some doctors want the proposal approved, others seek to prohibit the approval because of the increased risk for medical malpractice as indicated in a 2009 year-long review conducted by the Institute of Medicine. The provisions of the new proposal permit residents to work beyond 28 hours without the need to document extended the hours, and it doesn’t require an eight-hour break between daily shifts. Under the new proposal, when mental health problems arise because of exhaustion, residents will have access to care when needed. Efforts have been made to help residents pay attention to the symptoms of exhaustion amid suggestions that dangers are more existent when residents are permitted to work longer shifts.
If a patient is injured because a resident is tired, a personal injury lawyer can review medical records to see if negligence occurred. If a medical malpractice situation results in a wrongful death, the process of review will require an investigation of protocol to determine the cause of action.