Heavy Workload Could Contribute to Doctor Negligence in New York

Whitney Taylor | February 26th, 2013

Doctor Negligence New YorkA recent study out of Johns Hopkins University suggests that at least a portion of doctor negligence in New York could be attributed to the heavy workloads of the doctors on staff. The study found that nearly half of all doctors surveyed say they regularly see more patients in a single shift than they feel comfortable treating. The heavy loads may be contributing to various types of hospital negligence and malpractice.

Increased patient load raises questions

The study surveyed more than 500 hospital-based physicians from around the country. The results of that survey were recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Internal Medicine. The study found that around 40 percent of doctors felt they had more patients than they could safely care for each month. In addition, 35 percent of physicians reported an overload of patients at least once every week.

Even in situations where proper patient care was provided, a significant portion of physicians felt there was not sufficient time to allow patients to weigh all their treatment options. Some doctors admitted to ordering tests that might not have been essential to patient care, simply because they did not have time to completely and accurately evaluate a patient’s condition. A small percentage of the physicians – seven percent – admitted that the heavy workload may have contributed to a patient complication and five percent admitted it might have contributed to a patient death over the past year.

Factors affecting higher patient numbers

One reason physicians might be increasing workloads is to compensate for smaller reimbursements from insurance companies. Staffing shortages at some hospitals may also contribute to excessive workloads. Currently, there are no restrictions on how many patients doctors may see on any single shift, unless they are first-year residents. As healthcare reform takes effect and 30 million more Americans are able to obtain insurance coverage, the number of patients requiring care may increase even more.

Heavy workloads can contribute to a number of additional issues in patient care, including longer waits for admission or discharge, treatment errors and failure to follow up promptly on some test results. These issues can result in minor inconveniences for the patient, or extend into serious medical complications that result in longer hospital stays, return visits, injury, or death. In some cases, a medical malpractice lawsuit in NYC may be filed when physician error results in tragic outcomes for patients and their families.

In an age of value-based patient care, physicians with too many patients can actually become a liability for the hospitals that employ them. Past research suggests that the optimal number of patients a physician can see in a day is 15, as long as the bulk of the working hours are committed specifically to clinical care. As hospitals become more focused on the quality of patient care, they may work harder to keep doctors within those guidelines. There are many options for achieving this goal, including allowing physicians to work in a single area of the hospital during each shift to cut down on travel time between departments.

New York medical malpractice lawyers help injured patients pursue legal compensation

For those who are injured by doctor negligence in New York, there is help available. Lawyers that specialize in doctor negligence and hospital malpractice in New York City can help patients understand their rights and hold those responsible for the injuries accountable. You may be eligible to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in NYC.

To determine your eligibility for a lawsuit involving doctor negligence in New York, contact the Sanders Firm today. Our experienced team will provide you with a free initial consultation to inform you of your legal rights and the compensation you might be eligible to receive. Call us today at 1-800-FAIR-PLAY.


  1. Doctors' Heavy Caseloads Put Patients at Risk, Study Shows, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-28/doctors-heavy-caseloads-put-patients-at-risk-study-shows.html

  2. Hospital Physicians Report Heavy Workloads Affect Patients, http://healthexecnews.com/physicians-heavy-workloads