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June 9, 1989

The Post-Bell Commission Residency: Sleep vs Care

Author Affiliations

The New York (NY) Hospital

The New York (NY) Hospital

JAMA. 1989;261(22):3243-3244. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420220057018

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To the Editor.—  During the months of February and March, strange things have been taking place on the medicine service of a New York teaching hospital. A trial of altered house staff rotations that meet the Bell Commission's stipulations has replaced the traditional house staff schedule. To comply with New York State Code 405 (to take effect on July 1) mandating that medical house staff must not work for more than 24 consecutive hours, must have no less than 8 nonworking hours between shifts, and must not work more than 80 hours per week, the admitting intern is expected to sign his or her cases over to the night float at 11 PM, who in turn signs off his or her cases the next morning. Participation in the trial of this new schedule is not voluntary, but after 6 months of sleep deprivation from being awake every fourth night, I