Short Takes - 2005-01-13

A Harvard study of 2,737 first-year interns from around the country found that they were more than twice as likely to get into a car crash while driving home after working 24 hours or longer, compared with when they worked shorter shifts. After extended shifts, they were six times more likely to report a near-miss accident and they sometimes fell asleep while driving. The doctors in the study worked on-call shifts averaging 32 hours in which they were lucky to grab a few hours sleep, and about half worked from 81 to 140 hours per week. The study appears in the New England Journal of Medicine.