The concept of resident work-hour restrictions work in some fields better than others. It’s probably more difficult to adopt in surgical residencies, as the programs are smaller and the training more rigorous.
If the restrictions further get further regulated to 56-hours a week, I have no idea how today’s surgeons will function in the real world:
Part of the culture of surgery necessitates developing the discipline to push oneself hard. When a surgeon is called into the hospital to operate in the middle of the night, he or she cannot go home to bed, abandoning the surgical cases scheduled for that morning, and no current system exists to enable this. It is the responsibility of the surgeon to provide the best of care to every patient regardless of the time of day. If surgical residents cannot push themselves when they’re young, they certainly cannot learn to do it at age 50 or 60.
It would be ironic if the restrictions, designed to improve patient safety, end up up harming them instead by graduating inadequately trained surgeons.