From the Wall Street Journal Health Blog:
After sundown the doctors get scarcer, the nurses fewer and the waits for just about everything get longer. There aren’t many bosses or seasoned pros around when things get sticky.
The result is a “stark discrepancy in quality between daytime and nighttime inpatient services,” David Shulkin, president and CEO of Beth Israel Medical Center in New York, writes in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
The lighter staffing in off-hours contributes to higher mortality rates, more complications from surgery and more frequent errors compared with the day side. Shulkin says we shouldn’t accept that. For starters, he writes, we need to scrap the notion that hospitals should run differently at night compared with the daytime. “We should be establishing equal standards for staffing and service and striving for acceptable outcomes for every hour of the week,” he argues.