Rule Change Means Medical Residents Can Work Up to 24 Hours Straight

A rule that allows new medical residents to work up to 24 hours straight was announced Friday by the group that establishes work standards for U.S. medical school graduates.

The decision by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education means that the limit for rookie medical residents is now the same as for advanced residents, the Associated Press reported.

Residents at all levels are still restricted to a maximum 80 hours per week.

Supporter say allowing new medical residents to work up to 24 hours straight will enhance their training, but opponents think it will have the opposite effect, the AP reported.

The move will endanger the health and safety of residents and patients, according to Dr. Samantha Harrington, a first-year resident and a member of the Committee of Interns and Residents, a union group that's against the change.

The American Medical Student Association is also opposed, and president Dr. Kelly Thibert said a 16-hour cap on all residents' work shifts would be a safer way to even the playing field, the AP reported.

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