Report: Young doctors should get nap after 16-hour shift

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A new report says doctors-in-training are still too tired for safety, despite some limits on their working hours.

The findings come five years after a medical board first tried to cap hours that bleary-eyed medical students work, limiting them to about 80 hours a week.

Today, the Institute of Medicine says the workload should be eased further. Anyone working a maximum 30-hour shift should get an uninterrupted five-hour break for sleep after 16 hours.

In some ways, the long hours comes with the territory: doctors can't just clock out if a patient is in danger. But sleep deprivation fogs the brain, which can lead to serious medical mistakes.

Other recommendations include increasing mandatory days off and requiring experienced physicians to more closely supervise medical residents.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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