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March 18, 1988

Long Hours and Risks to and From Residents

Author Affiliations

Freedom, Calif

Freedom, Calif

JAMA. 1988;259(11):1645. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03720110015009

To the Editor.  —The Jan 1, 1988, issue of JAMA contained a letter describing the personal safety hazard of residents driving home from work in a sleep-deprived condition.1 The authors appropriately suggest educating medical students and residents about this occupational hazard. I now ask whether patients should be likewise advised about the hazard to their personal safety while receiving care from residents who are in this sleep-deprived condition during the last few hours before attempting to drive home. The blunt fact is that many residency training programs, surgery programs perhaps the most culpable, are still subjecting young physicians to work conditions that would not remotely be considered proper in any other nonmilitary human endeavor. If a physician can barely drive, what in the world is he going to be doing, with a sharp instrument in his hand, to somebody's family member?