To the Editor:
Bravo to Dr. Ellis for his remarks regarding fatigue and long work hours in the Fall 2004 issue. Now one even has to make sure that a resident is not too tired to drive. Is this being done in other critical occupations? How much sleep does the President get before sending our troops into combat?
In my practice we are off the day after taking call; many practices that I am familiar with function in this fashion.
It always bothered me that surgeons could start long, elective cases late at night or work during the night, only to continue with their elective schedule the next day.
Unfortunately, many of the important changes to health care cannot occur because of lack of funding. When we do make a change it is at the discretion of JCAHO, and it often lasts for the duration of the inspection.
Steven Ginsberg, MD
Editor’s Note: Stay tuned for an upcoming Special Issue of the APSF Newsletter addressing issues of fatigue, human performance, and patient safety with guest editor Steve Howard, MD.