You may not think about it when going in for a surgical procedure, but chances are your doctor is extremely fatigued. Although there are restrictions on how many hours surgeons may work, a new study suggests that these doctors are tired enough to raise the risk of making mistakes while conducting surgeries. This small study revealed that surgical residents at several Boston area hospitals are averaging only 5 and a half hours of sleep each night.
Analyzed during the study was a group of 27 orthopedic residents at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham And Women’s Hospital. The residents kept diaries of their sleep habits and work habits. Because of the few hours of sleep that the surgical residents were getting, the study showed that they were only functioning at 70% of their mental effectiveness during 27% of the time that they were awake. To put those numbers into perspective, having 70% mental effectiveness is equal to having a blood alcohol level of .008.
Katie Couric on Sleep and Menopause