Doctors all worked unlimited hours—unchallenged until Libby Zion’s death on March, 5, 1984. Her dad found her care was left to sleep-deprived residents with no supervision. Legal battles ended in New York’s 1989 Libby Zion Law—requiring doctors-in-training be supervised and limited to 24-hour shifts and 80-hour weeks. In 2003 these caps were applied to all US residents and in 2011 new doctors were capped at 16-hour shifts. Yet caps remain unenforced so residents may still work unlimited hours. In 2016, we delivered a 75,000 signature petition to Dr. Nasca at the ACGME, demanding the agency charged with resident training address sleep deprivation and doctor suicides. In response, they nearly doubled new doctor shifts from 16 to 28 hours in 2017 and now permit unlimited hours without justifying why. If this bothers you, tell the ACGME (and your hospital)—that your doctor has a right to sleep or you have a right to see another doctor.
Protect yourself & your loved ones. Always ask, “How long have you been on your shift, Doc?”
Let the ACGME and Dr. Thomas Nasca know how you feel about their decision to allow doctors to work 28+ hours without sleep: Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education 401 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 2000, Chicago, IL 60611 or call 312.755.5000. Email Dr. Nasca: firstname.lastname@example.org
Your legal defense strategy: Human Rights Violations in Medicine: A-to-Z Action Guide