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Campaign Calls for Limits on Doctors' Hours
Date:2/4/2010

h Research Group at Public Citizen, a watchdog organization. "Today we are sending a letter signed by more than 40 organizations to the ACGME urging them to adopt rules to reduce sleep deprivation among tens of thousands of residents in whose hands the safety of millions of American patients are placed."

"It's critically important to make sure residents have time off of sufficient duration and quality to allow for meaningful rest," added Art Levin, director of the Center for Medical Consumers and a peer reviewer for the IOM report.

A National Transportation Safety Board report this week names fatigue as one factor contributing to the crash of a commuter jet in Buffalo last year which killed 50, he pointed out.

Declarations at the news conference seemed to place the blame squarely with the ACGME and suggested that impetus for reform might need to come from higher up, namely Congress.

"It's still not clear if ACGME can improve rules sufficiently without increased accountability, which would come from federal legislation," Wolfe said.

Ingle told of one chief resident who put his car into park every time he stopped at a red light on his way home from grueling hospital shifts.

"He was fearful he would let his foot off the pedal and have an accident," Ingle said.

"My body is not made to work 30 hours or more," said Dr. Dan Henderson, health justice fellow with the American Medical Student Association. "If I'm truly going to do no harm as I pledged, I need a system to protect patients against errors caused by my fatigue. If ACGME isn't willing to do the right thing hopefully consumers and lawmakers will be ready to step in."

More information

Visit wakeupdoctor.org for more information on this issue and to sign a petition.



SOURCES: Feb. 4, 2010, teleconference with: Sidney Wolfe, M
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