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Study: Lack Of Sleep Does Not Affect Surgeons

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File photo of a doctor.  (Credit: Thinkstock)

File photo of a doctor. (Credit: Thinkstock)

CBS Atlanta (con't)

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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS Atlanta) – According to a recent study, surgeons who worked the night before an operation were not any less effective than surgeons who did not.

Researchers from Western University in Ontario, Canada, analyzed the performance of over 300 surgeons.

Researchers examined the operations of over 2,000 patients whose surgeons worked the night before. They then compared those patients to others who had the same surgery by a surgeon who did not work the night before performing the operation. The study found that there were no more risks or complications associated with the operations performed by surgeons who worked the night before.

“Taken together, research in this area has not shown a relationship between complication rates and surgeon sleep the night before an operation is performed,” lead researcher Christopher Vinden, an associate professor at the university, said in a press release.

A common concern for most patients is if their doctors are busy and over worked then they will make more mistakes; but a study from the University of Pennsylvania found this not to be true.

Researchers say that if a doctor is under more pressure and discharged a patient too quickly it did not have any effects on the patient’s outcome.

Because sleep is essential to functioning, Vinden says in the study that some hospitals are taking precautions and limiting the hours of training surgeons and practicing surgeons.

“Restructuring health care delivery to prevent surgeons operating during the day after they operated the previous night would have important cost, staffing, and resource implications,” the study stated. “In some rural underserved areas, restricting surgeon work hours may not be possible with making care unavailable.”

Michael Zinner of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and Julie Fresichlag of Johns Hopkins Medical Institute wrote an editorial that was published with Vinden’s study. Zinner and Fresichlag said in their editorial that “sleep deprivation does not have the same effect on surgeons as it does for other people, such as pilots, truck drivers, or astronauts.”

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