Medical Professionals: Your Occupational Lack of Sleep Increases the Risk of Disability

The medical profession is known for being a demanding occupation. Long hours exhaust medical professionals physically, mentally, and emotionally. Historically, long hours while training and beginning a career in medicine were discussed as if longer hours and more strenuous training were something to aspire to in order to demonstrate dedication to the profession, even to the point of unsafe fatigue. Now we better know the consequences of working grueling hours and how sleep deprivation and fatigue can affect the health of doctors as well as the quality of care patients receive.

Each sector of the medical profession comes with its own challenges. Even after doctors finish seeing patients, there are hours of paperwork and research that disrupt a regular sleep schedule. Recent studies have further highlighted the increased risk that doctors place on their own health by foregoing regular and adequate sleep. Some of these health concerns and conditions can be rather severe such as stroke or psychological impairments, and contribute to a degradation in health that can result in a disabling condition that can ultimately remove the physician from the practice of medicine.

Disability insurance benefits are available to disabled physicians who are unable to continue practicing medicine due to their disabling condition. While your disability insurance company may be critical of your claim for disability insurance benefits if it appears related to lack of sleep or fatigue, an experienced disability insurance lawyer can use your medical records to demonstrate the extent of your disability that causes you to be unable to work and why your claim should be approved, even if the root cause is brushed off like a lack of sleep often is.

If you are a medical professional suffering from a disabling condition and are unable to continue your medical career, you need to discuss your claim for disability insurance benefits with an experienced disability insurance lawyer. Seltzer & Associates has decades of experience working with medical professionals who are unable to work due to disability. Helping our clients obtain the disability insurance benefits they deserve is what we do. 

Can Lack of Sleep Really Be Disabling?

Many people do not believe a lack of sleep can result in disabling conditions. After all, many of us, especially those in demanding professions, work through tiredness and other ailments to make sure the job gets done. Doctors and physicians should not be practicing medicine when they are worn down from sleep deprivation. This is not a healthy approach to a lack of routine and sound sleep schedule. While a lack of sleep alone is not a disabling condition, it is the effects of lack of sleep that result in disabling conditions. Physical fatigue, diminished concentration, and an increase in mental health issues are the results of sleep deprivation and harm to both physicians and the patients under their care.

In addition to the general harm that may arise from physicians having a lack of sleep while practicing medicine, the following conditions have been linked to poor sleep habits in adults:

These are serious conditions that can end a medical career if left unchecked. If your condition becomes so severe that you are unable to continue practicing medicine, you need to reach out to a disability insurance lawyer and pursue your disability insurance benefits.

Lack of Sleep Can Increase the Risk of Stroke

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that a lack of sleep or frequent disruptions to sleep in adults contributed to the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease. Medical professionals are prone to disrupted sleep schedules. Emergency personnel may be on call and not able to get sleep on a regular schedule or for a set period of time due to the demands of the medical center. Surgeries can have unexpected complications that require additional hours in the operating room. Medical researchers can be beholden to laboratory hours and tied to hours of observation and analysis. This work is important and necessary, but the very people protecting our health are putting themselves at increased risk for disability.

Stroke is a serious medical event that can debilitate the victim physically and cognitively. Any illness or injury involving damage to the brain or cardiovascular system is serious, and recovery from stroke can take months or years. Stroke victims need significant medical care and rehabilitation, and may never regain the level of function to return to a medical career. Long-term disability insurance benefits are crucial to stroke victims. Seltzer & Associates can help you maintain your financial security by obtaining these benefits if you become disabled and unable to continue your medical career.

Sleep Deprivation, Physician Burnout, and the Pandemic

Physician burnout was often ignored in the medical community due to the demanding expectations that were accepted as part of the profession. Sleep deprivation contributes to poor health both physically and mentally, which in turn leads to physician burnout. Physician burnout increased in recent years after the extenuating circumstances of the pandemic demanded longer hours and fewer resources to care for patients in an uncertain environment. In the midst of the pandemic, the shortage of medical professionals contributed to longer and more challenging hours for those who remained working in the medical field, and a vicious cycle of overworking doctors and causing more burnout was perpetuated. The American Medical Association has recognized the severity of burnout and has advocated for change in the profession where possible, evaluating the opportunity for changes in regulations that would lessen the burden on physicians particularly as it relates to additional work. This dedication to physician well-being not only demonstrates the severity of burnout issues facing physicians but that without systemic change physicians may become mentally and physically unable to continue providing medical care to patients.

Schedule Your Free Consultation

Sleep deprivation in doctors can lead to serious disabling conditions. If you are a doctor who is unable to work due to a disabling condition, you need your disability insurance benefits. Contact Seltzer & Associates online or by calling 888-699-4222 to schedule your free consultation.