Zombie Medicine 1 comment

This morning, sitting in a waiting room, I read about the sleepless residents who provide sleep deprived health care patient sitting. Well, I said to myself, I’ll have to blog about this later. I couldn’t believe that supposedly intelligent people would have to perform a study to figure out things like:

Young doctors make far fewer mistakes when their hours are restricted to let them get enough sleep, according to the first study to directly examine the issue.
The study of 24 student doctors caring for seriously ill patients in a hospital found that those who were restricted to working no more than 16 hours without a break made about one-third fewer serious errors that could harm patients.
Anyone who has pulled an all nighter knows this.
David Leach, Executive Director of the group that oversees medical residency hides from the obvious:
“I cannot emphasize enough that this situation is more complicated than just one variable. I don’t know if it’s as simple as reducing hours,” Leach said. “We could end up doing more harm than good.”
From this quote I was going to jump into a diatribe about just who was going to be harmed the most. But, heck, Megan McCardle and Jonathan Wilde are already all over this.
Perhaps a series of tort awards based on malpractice due to resident’s poor work conditions will bring a more rapid change. Is this another reason that the medical profession wants tort limits: to protect their government sponsored monopoly. Because, to cut back on resident’s hours the medical education system will have to produce more residents which ultimately means more doctors serving patients.
NB: I do wish that Megan would cross post her Instapundit guest posts at Asymetrical Information. Her stuff is really too good for Instapundit and it does kind of irk me to have to go there to find her material.

One thought on “Zombie Medicine

  • Avedon

    The only reason the 40-hour work week lasted as long as it did was because immediately after it was instituted it was recognized that people work far more efficiently in the first eight hours than they do in even the ninth or tenth hour. This saved industry millions in costs of accidents, destruction of machinery, repair time, etc.
    Unfortunately, everyone seems to have forgotten and we seem to have to start over.

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