Hospitals Turning to Nocturnists – Doctors Who Work Nights-to Improve Care

Being in a hospital at night or over a weekend can be hazardous to your health, and even has a name: “the weekend effect.” A raft of studies has documented higher rates of death, complications and medical errors affecting patients treated at night or on weekends. “After normal working hours it’s mostly maintenance,” said Jessie Gruman, 56, director of the Washington-based Center for Advancing Health, a nonprofit health-policy group. “There’s a real sense of vulnerability you have at night when you know things are not happening at full speed. There’s less nursing care, less access to a doctor and more demands on doctors,” added Gruman, a veteran of more than 35 years of hospitalizations to treat cancer-related illnesses.
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