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Medicine Science

Do Sleepy Surgeons Have a Right To Operate? 332

Hugh Pickens writes "BusinessWeek reports that a commentary from the New England Journal of Medicine calls on doctors to disclose when they're deprived of sleep and not perform surgery unless a patient gives written consent after being informed of their surgeon's status. 'We think that institutions have a responsibility to minimize the chances that patients are going to be cared for by sleep-deprived clinicians,' writes Dr. Michael Nurok, an anesthesiologist and intensive care physician. Research suggests that sleep deprivation impairs a person's psychomotor skills — those that require coordination and precision — as much as alcohol consumption and increases the risk of complications in patients whose surgeons failed to get much shuteye."
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Do Sleepy Surgeons Have a Right To Operate?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 01, 2011 @09:26AM (#34729640)

    Here in the UK that would make the NHS hard pressed to find anyone medically competent enough to pass the test ever, meaning no healthcare would take place. Much as usual.

  • by kyrio ( 1091003 ) on Saturday January 01, 2011 @09:40AM (#34729680) Homepage
    That must have been a really big motorcycle in order to get into it!
  • by amabbi ( 570009 ) on Saturday January 01, 2011 @01:20PM (#34730782)

    I am an anesthesiologist. When I am on overnight call I am always off the next day. Our group of Anesthesiologist strongly believes this is the right thing to do. On overnight call I don't come in until 3pm because 24 hours it too tiring. The motto of the American Society of Anesthesiologists is "Vigilance" You can not be vigilant if you are sleep deprived.

    On several occasions I have seen heart surgeons who are up at night with emergencies call off scheduled, elective cases in the morning. Perhaps we just have a good bunch of surgeons here, but all of the OR team (nurses, perfusionists, Anesthesiologists...) think it is the right thing to do.

    Respectfully... the reason why anesthesiologists need stricter work hours, "breaks" during their cases, etc., is because their job is so f'ing boring that even the well-rested often fall asleep at their anesthesia consoles.


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