A Dangerous Study of Medical Resident Hours
Commercial airline pilots are subject to strict rules about the number of consecutive hours they may be on duty, as well as the number of hours that must elapse between their sessions actively piloting planes. The reason, obviously, is to ensure the safety of airline passengers, because the physiological and psychological effects of sleep deprivation are well known. It therefore comes as a surprise to learn of a recently launched study designed to compare the effects of increasing medical residents’ consecutive duty hours with the shorter, currently prescribed limits on their shifts—particularly for first-year residents—caring for patients.
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