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New Rule Could Mean Longer Shifts for Medical Interns

Medical InternsIf you have watched any of the popular medical dramas on television, you probably imagine interns (doctors in their first year of on-the-job training) working long, grueling hours. Believe it or not, this is actually fairly accurate. However, regulators have consistently restricted interns to just 16-hour shifts because they feared that having them work longer hours could increase the risk of medical mistakes. Now experts are thinking about repealing the restriction and imposing a longer permitted shift of up to 28 hours.

What Would the Longer Shifts Mean for Patients?

According to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), the change was proposed after research found that a more relaxed rule on intern shits would not harm patients. Further, the ACGME believes that the longer hours could improve patient safety and improve learning opportunities for interns by giving them a more realistic training experience. Are they accurate, though? It seems no one is really certain. There are also many critics who fear the longer shifts are simply a disaster waiting to happen.

Specifically, the experts are afraid that residents would become too tired, especially when they are simply thrown into long, extended, and often emotional shits. Instead, they warn that doctors must learn how to accurately pace their energy, and until they do, they can be a risk to both themselves and others. The biggest concern, of course, is whether that harm would extend to patients.

Is Patient Safety a Price We are Willing to pay?

Already, medical error is thought to be the third leading cause of death in America. It falls behind only heart disease and cancer. With just one study showing that longer shifts do not cause harm to patients, and scores of others indicating that longer shifts do make residents a risk to everyone, is an increase in patient deaths and medical mistakes a price we, as a society, are willing to pay? We would hope that is not the case. Yet, the direction of the ACGME suggests otherwise.

Pursuing Compensation After Medical Negligence

If you or someone you love is injured by a medical mistake, it is critical that you understand your right. This includes your right to pursue compensation for any losses that you or your loved one have experienced. Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. can help. Dedicated and experienced, our San Jose medical malpractice lawyers will protect your best interest and pursue the most favorable outcome possible in your case. Schedule your consultation by calling 08-289-1417 today.

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