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Study suggests daylight saving time could impact medical errors

On Behalf of | Mar 11, 2024 | Medical Malpractice

Moving the clocks forward an hour every spring for daylight saving time requires an adjustment to a person’s routines, body rhythms and planning. Most might equate this with their job, family life, getting enough sleep or watching for drivers who have not adapted to the time change and are behaving in risky ways.

However, it can influence lives in other areas. Researchers recently stated that medical malpractice cases are worse in the immediate aftermath of daylight saving time. People who are receiving treatment or have already gotten treatment and think something is amiss should be cognizant of this.

Extensive research of medical malpractice finds link with daylight savings

Researchers assessed 30 years of medical malpractice incidents and found that there was a greater severity and higher payments for issues in the months immediately following daylight savings time when compared to standard time. The study was adjusted because neither Arizona nor Hawaii observe daylight saving time.

Researchers have long known that changing the clocks can affect people’s driving skills and even their overall health. On a more subtle level, people’s decision-making skills can also be affected. This can include surgeons and others who must make decisions with profound consequences for their patients’ health.

The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, says that people function better during standard time because of how the human body reacts to various factors like the position of the sun.

More than 288,400 medical malpractice cases were assessed between 1990 and 2018. They looked at incidents immediately before and after daylight savings. People’s judgment was believed to have been hindered, leading to avoidable mistakes.