A new study indicates to Indiana medical malpractice lawyers that a surgeon’s risk of making potentially deadly errors increases not just when he’s performing a surgical procedure under the influence of alcohol, but also over the next 24 hours.
The researchers studied a group of six surgeons. These surgeons consumed alcohol one night, and the next day, were placed in a laparoscopic simulator. The simulator allows them to “perform” laparoscopic procedures. The researchers specifically chose laparoscopy because these procedures typically require a heightened level of visual-spatial abilities and cognitive abilities. Before performing the surgery, the surgeons were tested for alcohol, and only 5% tested positive. Doctors were then tested at 9 PM, 1 PM, and 4 PM.
The researchers found that the risk of surgical errors after a night of drinking was especially high during the 1 PM slot.
What really concerns Indiana medical malpractice attorneys is that only one of these doctors showed any signs of alcohol intoxication. The rest were technically sober, although a little hung over, and were not operating under the influence of alcohol. In spite of this, the doctors made surgical errors.
The scope of the study was fairly limited, and we need more research to prove that the risk of surgical errors continues even after most of the alcohol has been eliminated from the system. However, the researchers have been concerned enough to encourage surgeons, especially those who specialize in laparoscopy procedures, to avoid drinking before a major surgery.