Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Sleep Thyself Doctors Are Tough but Need Enough Rest to Work

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Sleep Thyself Doctors Are Tough but Need Enough Rest to Work

Article excerpt

People who haven't slept in 24 hours shouldn't drive. They're so tired it's more dangerous than being drunk. So can it possibly make sense for first-year doctors to be at work that long, taking care of patients?

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education has repealed its rule saying first-year residents must not be kept working more than 16 straight hours. That leaves them with the same cap that applies to more advanced trainee doctors: 24 hours, plus four more for handoffs. Another rule limits their average week to 80 hours. The change is effective July 1.

Long shifts can contribute to patient health, the council argues, because they allow a patient to remain with the same doctor longer. But the council's new rules also require both residents and faculty members to learn about fatigue and fighting it. …

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