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Legal Aspects of Sleep Medicine in the 21st Century.

Legal Aspects of Sleep Medicine in the 21st Century.

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Legal Aspects of Sleep Medicine in the 21st Century.

Chest. 2018 May 08;:

Authors: Venkateshiah SB, Hoque R, Collop NA

Multiple manifestations of sleep disorders may interact with the law making it important to increase awareness of such interactions among clinicians. Patients with excessive sleepiness may have civil (and in some states criminal) liability if they fall asleep while driving and cause a motor vehicle accident. Employers may be held vicariously liable due to the actions of sleepy employees. Hence awareness of causes of excessive sleepiness such as sleep deprivation and OSA is increasing among trucking, railroad, and other safety sensitive occupations. Interestingly, litigation related to perioperative complications due to Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is more frequent than non-operative issues such as a failure to diagnose OSA. Parasomnia associated sleep-related violence (SRV) represents a challenge to clinicians, as they may be asked to consider parasomnia as a possible contributing, mitigating, or exculpatory factor in criminal proceedings. Clinicians should also familiarize with the legal and regulatory aspects of running an independent sleep laboratory. Sleep telemedicine practice using 21st century technology has opened novel and unique challenges to existing laws. In this review, we shall cover the most common interactions between sleep disorders and the law including the challenges of excessive sleepiness and driving; other legal issues involving patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA); and the liabilities associated with parasomnia disorder. We shall also cover some practical legal aspects involving independent sleep laboratories and the field of sleep telemedicine.

PMID: 29750922 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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