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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Is It Safe For Medical Residents To Work 30-Hour Shifts?

By Rob Stein
NPR
Originally published December 7, 2015

Since 2003, strict rules have limited how long medical residents can work without a break. The rules are supposed to minimize the risk that these doctors-in-training will make mistakes that threaten patients' safety because of fatigue.

But are these rules really the best for new doctors and their patients? There's been intense debate over that and some say little data to resolve the question.

So a group of researchers decided to follow thousands of medical residents at dozens of hospitals around the country.

The study compares the current rules, which limit first-year residents to working no more than 16 hours without a break, with a more flexible schedule that could allow the young doctors to work up to 30 hours.

Researchers will examine whether more mistakes happen on one schedule or the other and whether the residents learn more one way or the other. The year-long study started in July.

The entire article is here.
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