It does not matter how skilled or knowledgeable the medical staff is if the people have not had sufficient rest. Being physically tired from long hours results in errors. The recent recommendations of the Institute of Medicine set forth guidelines:
“Medical and surgical residents in hospitals should work no more than 16 hours without taking a mandatory five-hour sleep break, and they should get one full day off a week and at least two back-to-back days off a month, a panel of experts at the Institute of Medicine recommended yesterday.”
Whether the guidelines are followed, however, is another question. In most medical care facilities, there is too much work and not enough staff. The problem of sufficient rest is recognized. The solutions are not readily available, in most situation. One local chief of staff is famous for advising students to sit close to the edge of the chair when closing their eyes. If they happen to drift off to sleep, the impact with the floor is supposedly a good ‘wake-me-up’.