May 24, 2011 —
Science Daily/Canadian Medical Association Journal
Sleep deprivation is an issue that affects practising physicians and not only medical residents, and we need to establish standards for maximum work and minimum uninterrupted sleep to ensure patient safety, states an editorial in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).
A recent study indicated that lack of sleep can result in higher rates of surgical complications if a surgeon had less than six hours of sleep the preceding night. Doctors practising post-call may not be at optimal levels as fatigue can effect mental acuity. "We doctors ourselves are part of this problem," write the authors. "We need to shift our professional culture. Long periods on call should not be accepted as routine or a source of pride."