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U.S. Public Opinion Suports Limits on Resident-physician Work Hours

June 1, 2010

U.S. Public Opinion Regarding Proposed Limits on Resident-physician Work Hours

The June issue of BMC Medicine will publish a graphical report that indicates that most of the U.S. public supports limiting the number of consecutive work hours worked by residents at teaching hospitals, with only 1% of Americans approving of current scheduling practices that schedule resident physicians to work extended durations greater than 24 hours at a time. Most respondents felt that they had the right to know whether their physician has been working for more than 24 hours, and would request care from a different doctor if they had. The study is part of a heated debate concerning the balance between long hours needed to prepare resident physicians and findings that link these long work hours with sleep-deprivation related accidents.

Patient safety groups have created a coalition to raise awareness about resident work hours and safety concerns related to extended work hours. More information is available at

Authors of the study, including senior author Dr. Charles Czeisler of Harvard Medical School's Division of Sleep Medicine, will be available for a press conference regarding these findings at 11am on June 1st.

Click here to download the graphical report

Click here to read the full article from BMC Medicine

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