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Finding a Cure for Somnambulism

July 05, 2002

Re "Training Rxzzzzz," by Marc Siegel, Commentary, July 1: I graduated from medical school in 1962, but it is still fresh in my mind--the long hours and the sleepless nights. I remember thinking, at the time, what is being accomplished except extreme fatigue?

Why did I have to stand there at 3 in the morning holding a retractor in the operating room after being up for 24 hours? What was I learning except how to sleep standing up? I could have been easily replaced by an operating room tech working an eight-hour shift. But that would have cost the hospital some money.

Instead, they got tired me for next to nothing. I agree with Siegel that more supervision and more residents are the answer.

More residents would eliminate the need for us to work shifts such as 36 hours on and 12 hours off, for weeks at a time.

Since the hospitals did not eliminate these onerous shifts on their own, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education will do this for them. This is a first step.

Donna Asimont MD

Sunland

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