A new study shows that sleep deprived surgeons perform just as good as they would if they slept at night. Elective medical surgeries scheduled during the morning are not at all affected by surgeons coming from night shifts. It seems that doctors are made from a different human material, as normally, when we miss those hours of sleep during the night, exhaustion kicks in and we don’t perform our daily tasks at full power.
Although previous studies have suggested that physicians who are deprived of sleep may cause harm to patients, new results come to contradict the old findings. But nonetheless, the effects of sleep loss in doctors remain unclear. A new study based in Ontario has shown that the outcomes of care rendered by physicians during elective morning surgeries have nothing to do with sleep deprivation. Surgeons are capable of performing a great operation even if they didn’t sleep at all the night before, trying to make their best during their night shift.
To come up with the findings, researchers have conducted the study by performing a population-based investigation which has involved no less than 38.978 surgical cases under the care of 1.448 experienced surgeons. Researchers have monitored 12 types of operations which included bypass surgery, angioplasty, hysterectomy and hip replacement. They were able to conclude whether the surgeon had worked from 12 am to 7 am before the daytime surgery, by accessing a billing code database.
After assessing their working hours and the amount of sleep a night before an important surgery, researchers have concluded that lack of sleep doesn’t affect surgery performance. Patients who went under the knife the morning after a surgeon’s hard night’s work experienced a meaningful complication or even death in 22, 4% of cases. On the other hand, in cases where surgeons had slept at night, the chances of death and complications during surgery were similar, with a 22, 2% chance of complication. The differences are almost insignificant.
It seems that OR performance is not affected by sleep deprivation in surgeons. The study can be used as a powerful argument against propositions that suggest physicians to declare to their patients whether they have slept the night before or not.
A surgeon’s work is an almost supernatural activity and these people are intrinsically trained to resist to extreme pressure and sleep deprivation. Well, if they know how to treat other people and save lives, they must be capable to take care and properly manage their own lives in the first place.
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