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Are 30-hour shifts too long for doctors?

When you get to the hospital, you probably don't think of asking the doctor -- or the resident -- how long he or she has been working. You just expect excellent care. You're trusting these professionals with your health and perhaps your life.

Did you know that you could end up with a resident who is working a 30-hour shift?

It's a shock to a lot of people who are used to 8-hour shifts. Some even feel burned out after that, and certainly if they work a few extra hours of overtime. Now imagine when it's like to work for three times that long, in a fast-paced and stressful environment.

People were asked back in 2010 if they felt like residents should work for 30 hours in a row. Overwhelmingly, people said that they thought this was a bad idea. They said the longest a shift should be was 16 hours, with some feeling it should be even less. There were real concerns about mistakes being made by doctors since they'd been on the clock for 30 hours, mistakes they wouldn't have made if they were fresh and rested.

Of course, there's always something of a trade-off. One resident said that these 30-hour shifts only happened one time every four days. That's a lot of time off in between shifts.

Still, it does mean mistakes could be made if you show up and get a medical professional who has been on the clock for more than a day already. If this happens, you must know what options you have to seek compensation.

Source: The Daily Beast, "When Your Doctor Is on a 30-Hour Shift," Farah Khan, accessed Dec. 16, 2016

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