Dr Ronak Patel, 33, was driving home from his shift as a trainee anaesthetist when his VW Golf crashed and ended up in a ditch, killing him. Experts ruled out mechanical failures. Patel had just finished up his night shift. On his way home, he called his wife complaining of fatigue. His wife attempted to keep him on the phone as an effort to keep him awake. But it seems the effort failed.
Accident Investigator Pc Mark Webb said: “It is my opinion that the most plausible explanation for the collision was that Dr Patel fell asleep which prevented him from having appropriate control of his car.”
Dr Patel’s VW Golf collided head-on with a lorry on the A1088 Ixworth Road at Honington shortly before 9am on August 3 last year. The VW Golf ended up partly in a ditch.
Patel’s death highlights a serious issue in the medical industry, which is the irresponsible scheduling of Doctors, Nurses and Trainees. With medical malpractice leading to patient injury and death at an all time high, shouldn’t there be a higher level of responsibility when it comes to working hours?
Consider the greater picture here: Would you be comfortable with a sleep deprived Doctor or Nurse working on you or your children? I assume you wouldn’t be.
The truck driving industry in the United States has come under fire in recent years. When comedian Tracy Morgan was injured when a sleep-deprived trucker crashed into his car, many called for new legislation over the trucking industry. But thousands of people die from medical malpractice and nothing is said about similar practices by hospitals?
I’m not saying that sleep deprivation is the entire, singular reason behind patient injury and death. Not be a long shot. But I am saying its one item among many which needs attention. If a medical staffer was too tired to drive his car, what type of care do you think his patient’s received?