Two advocacy groups have asked Johns Hopkins to stop participating in a study looking at whether allowing medical residents to work long hours hurts patient care.
The study, sponsored in part by the National Institutes of Health, was supposed to end soon, but was extended for a year.
Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group, and the American Medical Student Association said the study, called iCompare, is unethical because patients aren't aware they are part of the research and have not consented to participating. They also say working long shifts leaves residents tired and more prone to making medical errors.
As part of the study being conducted at hospitals around the country, some residents are working 28 or more hours.
The groups conducted a poll that found that 84 percent of people would want to know if they were being treated at a hospital where residents work such long hours.
The letter to stop the study was sent to Johns Hopkins Health System and Johns Hopkins Hospital and Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. The University of Pennsylvania, which is taking part in the study, also received the letter.
Hopkins said in a statement that safety of employees and patients is a top priority. The hospital said it has "steadfast" and "extensive" supervision requirement for physicians in training.
"The review process for participating in the iCompare study was comprehensive, and the results could be used to improve the training of physicians and policies across the country, which can have a positive impact on patient outcomes," the statement said. "The goal is to determine the ideal balance of work hours for physicians in training to ensure the best possible outcomes for our patients in conjunction with the well-being of the physicians who are caring for them."