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In setting the new standard, which goes into effect on July 1, officials at the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education said on Friday that they hoped to avoid confusion and disruptions in care that can result when a patient is handed off to one doctor from another whose shift is ending.

The rules do not change for residents after the first year, who have been permitted to work 24-hour shifts if necessary. The new rules also leave in place a requirement that all residents work no more than 80 hours a week.

But the new guidelines roused the ire of critics who say that exhausted and inexperienced residents will be working too many hours to remain alert and focus on the critical decisions they make. The issue has been a focus of controversy for at least 30 years, after a patient named Libby Zion died under the care of residents in a New York hospital.

“We know sleep-deprived people can have impaired motor skills and their memory can deteriorate,” said Dr. Michael A. Carome, director of health research at Public Citizen, an advocacy group.

… Read More

Image: By Shanghai killer whale – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18546351

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