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RE: Hackers and Painters and Lawyers and Docs

At 5:11 PM -0400 5/16/03, Shriram Krishnamurthi wrote:
>Brent Fulgham wrote:
>>  We now require truck drivers to get a certain amount of sleep in a
>>  particular period of time, and yet we are perfectly happy with interns
>>  working round-the-clock in our emergency rooms.  I've heard that studies
>>  show that such Doctors do not make more mistakes than well-rested
>>  ones, but if that's true why is there a discrepency for truck drivers.

Actually, the studies I've read show exactly the opposite.
Like all of us, doctors make way more mistakes when they
are tired, and this is one reason why in New York, e.g.,
there was some movement (legislative?  I can't remember,
since it was a few years back) to cut the hours of interns
and residents.  I think this happened, and it has certainly
happened in Boston area teaching hospitals.  My wife is a
doctor, so we have a direct interest in following this stuff.

>Maybe because doctors (interns) work in semi-supervised environments:
>nurses hover around, family members show up, and often the patients
>are sentient.  Truck drivers are solely in control (even if there's
>another person in the cab, it's pretty hard to jump over and take
>control of a rig careening down the wrong side of the road at 70mph
>(um, 112kmph)).
>>  I know that I make far more bugs after working for 12 or more hours,
>Another argument for semi-supervision, aka, XP.  (Tongue in cheek.)
>PS: A cynic might ask who commissioned the doctors' study.  After all,
>     it would appear the current economic model of hospitals in part
>     depends on their continued abuse (literally speaking) of interns.