One of the reasons that medical residents are limited by law in the U.S. to an 80-hour maximum work week is to prevent medical errors due to lack of sleep. According to the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (www.ismp.org) nearly 100,000 people in the U.S. die each year due to medication errors. I think that all of us, like John T., would be wise to question before proceeding.
(As I wrote earlier, Atul Gawande, a surgeon, has written an excellent book about
medical mistakes that I recommend reading. It is written in clear, understandable, non-technical language: 'The Checklist Manifesto')
I ran into another case (not personally involved) where a father and son came into a clinic where I worked. Their names were the same, except for Sr/Jr and their birthdates. Both had the same test, a prothrombin time to monitor their anticoagulation and adjust their warfarin meds. The results were correctly sent for each, but the physician's office staff switched the results and adjusted the dose of medication for each based on the other's result. Thankfully this was caught by the physician in her end-of-the-day review.
Post Edited (Tim G) : 6/13/2013 11:53:05 AM (GMT-6)