At a time when it is being reported that medical errors is now the third leading cause of deaths in the US, the maximum workday for first-year medical residents just got substantially longer. The group that sets rules for training doctors announced Friday it will be scrapping the 16-hour cap on shifts worked by doctors who have just graduated from medical school. As of July 1, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education will allow these first-year residents, also known as interns, to work 24 hours without a break — and sometimes as long as 28, if a particular transition between doctors demands it. NPR has more on the story here.
The Associated Press notes the American Medical Student Association and the Committee of Interns and Residents oppose the change. Also, Dr. Michael
Carome, director of Public Citizen's Health Research Group has stated that "[s]tudy after study shows that sleep-deprived resident physicians are a
danger to themselves, their patients and the public," and that "[i]t's disheartening to see the ACGME cave to pressure from organized
medicine and let their misguided wishes trump public health."