Margaret A.WinklerMDIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Senior EditorsIndividualAuthor
To the Editor: I found the Council
Report1 on sleep and motor vehicle crashes ironic. The
authors state, "To protect public health and safety, the American
Medical Association recommends continued
research . . . to . . . prevent the deterioration of driver
alertness and performance." However, while truck drivers' longest
duty period is 15 hours and most "normal" workers work
approximately 8-hour days, house officers are routinely required to
work 36 hours or more at a stretch.2 While there seems to
be no debate about the need for drivers to get adequate sleep, there
remains significant debate about the effect of sleep deprivation on
house officers' performance.3,4 Dement5
bemoaned the "absence of teaching about sleep, notably the near
absence of such teaching in medical schools." Perhaps the medical
schools do not want future house officers to know the consequences of
what might happen to them. Alternatively, perhaps the students are too
sleepy to take in the information.
Sloan VS. Reducing Sleepiness on the Roads and on the Wards. JAMA. 1999;281(2):134–135. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-281-2-jac80019
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