Doctors and the Danger of Not Knowing How to Stay Awake.

Nobody needs to be reminded of a doctor’s role in society. They are the ones who diagnose and therefore cure, for what is a cure or remedy if it is for the wrong reasons? Occupying a highly important strata in the community, they still are by no means above anyone when it comes to working a shift. As the saying goes, someone has to do it. Hence some doctors are tasked with filling the role of a doctor-on-call for the night, while some may have posts in the emergency rooms of hospitals. They are experts in their field and it won’t come as a surprise if they too are experts on knowing how to stay awake for the duration of their graveyard shifts.
This propensity for knowing how to stay awake throughout the night may be traced back to their rigorous training which involved sleepless nights of studying and training. For one to pass the tests and requirements of becoming one, a tedious lifestyle that goes over and above the normal level of other career preparations, is acquired. The list is long – undergraduate education, medical school, residency program, and fellowship. Repetition breeds habit, and habits die hard as they say. Doctors learned how to stay awake long before they actually practiced.
Still, it is not a guarantee that they will not be feeling the effects of going against their circadian rhythm which dictates to our bodies that sleep is for nights and wakefulness for daytime. And they are not by any means above committing medical errors as a result of drowsiness. Young doctors especially, are the ones given these lowly tasks to use a term, considered to be a right of passage in their field. And there have been many mistakes that have caused permanent damage, if not loss of lives. If only they had paid more attention on how to stay awake, then a huge amount of grief could have been avoided.
Edmond Jones died in a hospital in Fort Launderdale in Florida. He was being prepped for a liver transplant operation. The two (2) anesthesiologists were responsible for the unfortunate incident which could be considered a freak accident as what they were performing was really a simple standard operating procedure they have performed over and over. It was simple enough: his central jugular vein had to be inserted with central lines for the major impending medical procedure. He never made it to surgery because he died from bleeding after the anesthesiologists advanced the needle too far, in the process piercing both the jugular and right subclavian artery.
It is a sad, sad tale indeed. There was never any investigation into the matter on account of Florida statutes or laws that protect doctors by way of information privacy. Therefore there is no conclusive evidence that drowsiness had anything to do with what happened. But whispers of other medical staff present at the time point to dowsiness as the cause of the error. Apparently, both doctors had been sleep deprived due to having attended two (2) hospital parties for two (2) consecutive nights, and appeared to be impaired as a consequence. Lesson learned. Get a sleep alarm gadget.