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University of Washington

Long work hours for new doctors criticized

Long work hours for new doctors criticized

Just a few years after the medical community established limitations on the work hours of new interns, the time limits are being re-evaluated for their impact on patient care and doctor training — a move that has sparked debate among consumer advocates and the medical community.

Dozens of hospitals around the country, including some in Baltimore, are participating in a pair of studies to assess whether allowing medical residents to work longer hours for needed on-the-job training benefits or harms patients.

The maximum number of work hours for first-year residents was nearly halved from 30 consecutive hours to no more than 16 hours after a 2009 report from the...