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First-year Medical Residents Exceed Work Limits

A high percentage of first-year medical interns violated work hour rules that were created to decrease fatigue-related medical mistakes, according to a new study conducted by researchers at Harvard Medical School.

The study, which surveyed 16 teaching hospitals in Massachusetts, found that 84 percent of 1,278 first-year medical interns reported a minimum of one violation after the new work hour rules took effect in July 2003.

The rules, aimed at reducing the rising number of medical errors that occur in hospitals each year, limit every resident to working an average of 80 hours per week with no more than 30 consecutive hours. Furthermore, all interns are required to take off an average of one day every seven days of work.

However, the Harvard survey, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that almost all of the 16 hospitals reviewed had violated every component of the new rule.

In addition, the lead researcher Dr. Christopher Landrigan said that second-year interns also violated many of the new rules. Approximately 40 percent of the second-year responses had exceeded work hour limits.

The new study is only a fraction of a growing body of research that evaluates the impact residents’ long hours have on their own safety and patient care, which has resulted in an increased number of medical errors leading to serious injury or death.

Have you suffered at the hands of a medical professional? If you or a loved one has suffered serious injury or death as a result of medical mistakes, please contact us today to speak with a qualified and caring medical malpractice attorney who can inform your of your legal rights and help you get the compensation your deserve.

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