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There Are No Designated Drivers In Medicine

There Are No Designated Drivers In Medicine

Ron Law - Risk & Policy Analyst
Beyond Alternative Solutions


"There is no place in decent modern societies for permitting drunk doctors in our health system,"says risk & policy analyst Ron Law, "and yet that is what is in essence happening in New Zealand hospitals every day."

Research has established beyond doubt that prolonged sleep deprivation impairs performance in a similar way to consuming increasing amounts of alcohol.

Reduced opportunity for sleep and reduced sleep quality are frequently related to accidents involving shift-workers.

Poor-quality sleep and inadequate recovery leads to increased fatigue, decreased alertness and impaired performance in a variety of cognitive psychomotor tests.

Studies published in Nature showed that after 17 hours of sustained wakefulness cognitive psychomotor performance decreased to a level equivalent to the performance impairment observed at a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05%.

After 24 hours of sustained wakefulness cognitive psychomotor performance decreased to a level equivalent to the performance deficit observed at a blood alcohol concentration of roughly 0.10%.

Effectively, doctors working prolonged hours are legally drunk.

Such levels of alcohol are illegal if driving, and such long hours of continuous work are banned for public safety reasons in many industries, including those involving driving and piloting planes.

According to the $1.5 million HRC/MOH funded research of medical injury in New Zealand hospitals, 1,500 New Zealanders die as a result of highly preventable medical injuries each year in New Zealand hospitals.

Based on the value of life used by the Ministry of Health to justify the current MeNZB mass immunisation experiment, highly preventable medical injury costs the New Zealand economy some 4 BILLION dollars per year.

Using similar economic impact figures that the Ministry of Health used to justify the MeNZB mass vaccination experiment, an Australian Government Taskforce calculated that preventable medical injury costs the Australian economy 33 Billion dollars.

In a letter dated 15 January 2003, [on file] the Minister of Health stated that deaths from medical injuries "is not a major category" of disease and injury in New Zealand.

How absurd.

In a modern society, doctors should be forbidden to work excessive hours, not required to as occurs at present.

The $250 million being wasted on an ideologically driven mass experiment on 1.15 million healthy children should immediately be diverted to help solving a real risk in society.


Conflict of Interest:

Ron Law was appointed by the Ministry of Health to an expert working group to advise the Director General of Health on the reporting and management of medical injury in the health system.

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