Medical Council Ready to Cut Limits on Doctor Hours

Want to Be Treated by a Sleep-Deprived Doctor? ::: Christopher P. Landrigan and Charles A. Czeisler ::: Washington Post

Forget about the Affordable Care Act for a moment: A potentially catastrophic health-care change has quietly been taking shape without much attention.

 The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education — the professional body charged with overseeing the nation’s physician training programs is poised to eliminate the 16-hour limit on work shifts for first-year resident physicians (referred to as interns) that it implemented in 2011. It proposes allowing interns to return to working extreme shifts of 28 hours — twice each week.

Sleep-deprived doctors cannot safely care for patients or themselves. An enormous body of science demonstrates that sleep deprivation impairs resident physicians’ performance as much as being legally drunk.

The op-ed is here.