Thursday, September 06, 2007

Cutting docs’ hours doesn’t reduce death rates

From MSNBC (emphasis added)

Cutting the grueling work hours of doctors-in-training had little effect on reducing patient deaths, according to two large studies.

Death rates dropped in one group of patients in veterans’ hospitals but not in three other groups, the researchers reported.

The results come from what the authors describe as the largest and most comprehensive national look at work-hour restrictions, which were implemented four years ago in an effort to reduce medical errors by tired physicians.

For the groups with no change, Volpp said one possible explanation is that more patient handoffs by residents offset the benefits of reduced fatigue. He also noted the work-hour limits may not be strictly enforced at every hospital.


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