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Longer shifts don’t increase harm to patients, finds controversial study

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i719 (Published 05 February 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i719
  1. Jeanne Lenzer
  1. 1New York

A controversial study of the effects on patient mortality of sleep deprivation among resident physicians that came under fire last year has been criticized again, this time for its publication by the New England Journal of Medicine.

The researchers examined deaths among people cared for by resident doctors who could work duty periods of 28 hours or more (flexible group) and among those cared for by residents who worked 16 to 28 hours in one shift (standard group). All other working conditions were the same in the two groups, including a cap on working more than 80 hours per week, averaged over four weeks.

The non-inferiority, national, cluster randomized study of doctors at 117 general surgery residency programs across the United States found no difference between the two groups in the …

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