We all know it’s true – interns and residents in medical training programs don’t get enough rest. The Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) has released statistics confirming this and citing one in five training institutions with violating current work-hour standards. I believe that those standards would be inadequate, even if met.
We know that sleep deprivation is unhealthy and can impair judgment as much or more than drinking alcohol. Even though the rigorous training schedule has many positive sides, it is now time for organized medicine to set an example for patients by adopting a healthy lifestyle despite the inconvenience. And it is past time to stop subjecting residents and patients to the risks of sleep deprivation.
We need to set healthier work-hour limits and enforce them.