A Medscape news report discusses the dangers of sleep deprivation during residency and the new requirements of residency programs to promote more rest and sleep.
Among residents, sleep deprivation has been linked to an increased risk for personal injury in the workplace (eg, needlestick injury), as well as increased harm to patients due to medical error (eg, prescription errors). In addition, patients report lower satisfaction when treated by weary residents.
Some statistics are quite scary: In one study, 31% of resident errors led or contributed to a patient’s death, and residents blamed fatigue for 41% of all errors. The dangers of too little sleep have also been shown to spill out of the workplace; for example, one study found that sleepy, fatigued residents were more likely to be involved in motor vehicle incidents. Long-term psychiatric side effects of sleep deprivation may include depression and other mood disturbances.