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Sick doctors just keep going to work. Wait, what?

Posted by Smiley & Smiley on Jul 16, 2015 2:13:13 PM

Let's say that you are lying down on a hospital bed after a minor medical emergency. It turns out there isn't anything catastrophically wrong with you, but there are some concerns going forward that you will have to monitor on a regular basis. This is good news, and you're ecstatic that this wasn't a more significant issue.

But then, right as you are riding the wave of happiness, your doctor pulls back the curtains around your hospital bed. He's sneezing and coughing; he looks a bit pale; and it looks like, at any moment, this guy could faint due to the obvious illness that he is dealing with. Naturally, you're unhappy and upset.

The shocking fact about this hypothetical situation is that it isn't even that uncommon. Medical professionals show up to work when they are sick with frightening frequency and consistency. The potential medical risks and dangers posed by this behavior are obvious.

This fact came out of a new survey that was recently published in JAMA Pediatrics. The survey asked 536 medical professionals about how they went about their work when they were sick.

The survey found that even though nearly all respondents (95 percent) thought coming to work while sick put patients at risk, 83 percent of respondents did it anyway. If that isn't scary enough, 9 percent of respondents said they came to work while sick at least five times in the last year.

Medical professionals coming to work while they have an illness is unacceptable. This behavior compromises the safety of patients and it can lead to a nurse, doctor or surgeon performing well below his or her normal standard.

Source: Reuters, "Many docs come to work sick," Kathryn Doyle, July 6, 2015

Topics: Medical Malpractice


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