Are sleep-deprived surgical residents more likely to make serious medical errors? According to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) they were, and as a result, the council implemented changes in 2003 limiting the number of hours residents can work per week and increasing the amount of time off between 24-hour shifts.
However, those work restrictions may soon be a thing of the past thanks to new research published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers wanted to discover if loosening the 80-hour workweek restriction and time off between 24-hour shifts had any effect on patient outcomes. What they found was surprising.