Healthcare News & Insights

Can long hours cause death from overwork?

Every health exec has fielded complaints about too-long shifts from staffers.

While no one doubts the stress long hours can put on the body, at least one country, Japan,  has actually declared “overwork” as a potential cause of death.

The most recent case involves a 41-year-old McDonald’s worker who collapsed from a brain hemorrhage during a training program run at a store outside Tokyo. She died three days later.

The regional Japanese labor bureau investigated and determined that she died of “karoshi” or death from overwork. The woman had been averaging 80 hours of overtime per month for at least the past 6 months.

While few residents, nurses or other staffers have such extreme reactions, it’s not uncommon for health care providers to work equally long shifts — at least on occassion.

Is the health care industry doing enough to protect employees from overwork? Or is it something staffers should be aware of — and prepared to deal with — when they enter the field? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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