, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 3-6
Date: 06 Dec 2011

The Insidious Problem of Fatigue in Medical Imaging Practice

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Introduction

Fatigue represents a temporary inability to respond to a situation due to inadequate recuperation from overactivity; which can manifest in mental, emotional, or physical forms [1]. Occupational fatigue has been identified as a contributing factor in numerous catastrophic events including the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl nuclear reactor meltdowns, the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster, The Bhopal Union Carbide plant explosion, and the grounding and resulting oil spill of the Exxon Valdez oil tanker [2, 3]. In medicine, fatigue has been well documented as a source of medical errors, exacerbated by the continuous (i.e., around the clock) requirements for service delivery as well as associated disruption of circadian rhythms [4, 5]. Other sources of medical error that could be exacerbated by fatigue include excessive workload, cognitive overload, imperfect information processing, poor communication, and flawed decision making [6].

One can argue that all of these sources of me ...