Restrictions for young doctors in training were put in place in 2011. Those restrictions included not allowing residents to work more than 16-hours at a time. The restrictions were put in place because there was evidence that exhausted residents were putting themselves and their patients in danger. Today, those restrictions have been lifted in favor of education. Residents are now permitted to work rotations of 28 hours.
According to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, limiting the number of hours interns were permitted to work also limited their educational opportunities. Interns’ education was being lessened because of the reduction in their hours. Surgeons, in particular, were critical of the 16-hour shifts.
A group of concerned medical professionals, along with the consumer group Public Citizen, fought against the changes in allowed work hours. These people said that patient-concern is a very real factor in their opposition of the ruling. Exhaustion, experts say, is comparable to being intoxicated. Studies have shown that interns working in the ICU for more than 24 hours had an increase in errors of 36 percent.