X-Message-Number: 19985
From: "John de Rivaz" <>
Subject: Doctors Blunder When Lacking Slumber 
Date: Wed, 4 Sep 2002 20:23:50 +0100

From InfoBeat:

Doctors Blunder When Lacking Slumber

The long hours of doctors-in-training take their toll in the form of duller
minds and fumbling fingers and may be harming patients, new research has

In reviewing 50 previous studies of fatigue and medical residents,
researchers found that sleep deprivation affects both a doctor's cognitive
ability -- the skill needed to read a heart monitor correctly, for
example -- and surgical precision, reports HealthScout News.

One study found that complication rates were 45 percent higher for surgical
residents who'd been "on call" the night before. Two others of simulated
laparoscopy found that residents performed worse and needed more time to
operate on post-call mornings.

How much, if at all, sleep deprivation among residents contributes to the
estimated 44,000 to 98,000 deadly hospital errors each year in this country
isn't known, the researchers said.

The effects of little rest on the doctors themselves are clearer. Residents
face a sharply higher rate of deadly car accidents during their training,
especially in the hours when they are no longer on call.

The findings appear in tomorrow's Journal of the American Medical

This is particularly "amusing" on the basis that it is illegal to drive a
public service vehicle for more than so many hours, but apparently not
illegal to perform surgery.

Sincerely, John de Rivaz:      http://www.deRivaz.com :
http://www.longevity-report.com : http://www.autopsychoice.com :

Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=19985