Archived Blog Post: January 13, 2005

Sleepy Medical Interns Called a Road Hazard: "Studies have shown that being awake for 21 hours impairs drivers as much as having a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08, which is the legal limit for noncommercial drivers in the U.S., said Dennis Wylie, a consultant who analyzes human factors in motor vehicle operation and wrote an editorial accompanying today's study. 'It stands to reason that working for 32 hours would be worse,' Wylie said. But paring back the 80-hour work week would translate into longer residency programs if doctors are to complete the same amount of overall training, said Peter Carmel, a neurosurgeon and trustee of the American Medical Assn." - Question: would you rather have someone who completed 80 hours of training while so tired they couldn't drive, or who completed 50 hours of training they could actually remember later? Bonus question: given that studies show the highest factor in malpractice suits is actually malpractice, would a desire to cut down on malpractice claims be better served by tort reform, or by medical labor reform?