My latest USA Today column is now online and will be in Wednesday’s paper: Shorter doctor-trainee hours alone not solution.
I discuss the controversy surrounding limiting resident work hours, and explain why simply instituting a hard 80-hour weekly cap, along with mandatory naps, may not be the answer.
There’s little question that tired doctors make more mistakes, but the medical errors introduced from more frequent patient handoffs may negate the potential benefits of restricting physician work:
Nuance is required to prevent the unintended consequences of work restrictions. Rather than forcing doctors to nap or go home at a defined time, flexibility is needed so physicians can temporarily stay during medical emergencies. And patient handoffs need to be mandatory education for residents and interns, so they learn the importance of properly exchanging patient information.
Enjoy the piece.