California doctors routinely come to work when they are sick, according
to a new study. While their work ethic is admirable, the practice is putting
patients at risk.
reported by LiveScience.com, researchers polled 474 doctors at an academic hospital in California
who were at various stages in their medical careers. Nearly all of the
respondents stated that they would go to work with a cold. More than a
third said they would not stay home if they had the flu.
With regard to specific symptoms, the survey revealed the following:
- More than three-quarters said they would work if they had diarrhea;
- More than half said they would work if they were vomiting;
- Half said they would work if they had a fever between 101 and 103 degrees
- One quarter said they would work with a fever higher than 103 degrees.
Even more concerning, doctors that work in emergency medicine or surgery,
where infections pose the greatest risks, were more likely than other
specialists to come to work sick. In addition, only 30 percent of all
doctors reported that they would not wear protective gear, such as a facemask,
if they came to work with the flu.
When doctors come to work with a cold, flu or other illness, they risk
infecting both patients and other staff members. While most doctors are
likely aware of the risk, the study found that they felt bad about leaving
their colleagues to shoulder their workloads.
In the wake of the study, the hospital informed the staff that its management
supported doctors staying home while sick, and detailed the types of symptoms
that indicate doctors should stay home sick.
If you or someone you love has suffered from a hospital-acquired infection
attributed to medical negligence, don’t hesitate to contact
a San Diego medical malpractice attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage
for a free consultation.