Surgical Residents Fatigued during Half of Their Time Awake, Study Finds

May 30, 2012 | Strategic Insights for Health System


Surgical residents function at less than 80% mental effectiveness due to fatigue during 48% of their time awake, according to the results of a study published in the May 2012 issue of the Archives of Surgery. The study, which assessed the fatigue levels of 27 volunteer orthopedic surgical residents, also found that residents were functioning at less than 70% mental effectiveness due to fatigue during 27% of their time awake—a level of mental effectiveness that the researchers mention is equivalent to having a blood alcohol level of 0.08%. When compared with well-rested control subjects, this cohort of residents was predicted to have a 22% increased risk of committing a medical error attributable to fatigue.

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