Physician Well-Being and Medical Ethics

Authors: Ramin Walter Parsa-Parsi, MD, MPH


Not many people would feel comfortable boarding an airplane knowing that the pilot at the controls had been working for 24 hours straight, without a break. Excessive working hours, sleep deprivation, and the resulting fatigue and exhaustion can increase the potential for human error.1 The link between excessive working hours and diminished ability is acknowledged by the aviation industry in that maximum working hours are strictly enforced for pilots in the interest of passenger safety. Physicians often are advised to learn from the aviation industry in their efforts to improve patient safety through the implementation of critical incident reporting systems, error management systems and safety checklists, to cite a few examples.2–4

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