Did you know that doctors used to work for 36 hours in a row when they were training? These were known as "call nights" and young medical professionals were on call for one day, the entirety of the night, and then the following day. Most of the time, though they'd try to catch naps, they didn't really get any sleep.
Doctors used to view this with pride. They drank coffee, thought about how all of the full-time medical professionals had done this in the past, and were happy to show their dedication and perseverance. When they got through a call night, it was like wearing a badge of honor -- and that 36-hour work period was often in the middle of a 100-hour work week.
This isn't done anymore, and hasn't been for over a decade. Changes started in New York in the 1980s, when an 18-year-old girl died. Over time, new restrictions made their way across the country. These nights were deemed far too dangerous for patients.
After all, if you end up in the hospital, you don't want to see some exhausted medical student who is working hard to prove that he or she can tough it out through a 36-hour night. You don't care how proud that student is to make it through. You just want excellent care -- and that's what you deserve. The first responsibility of doctors should be to the patients, not to proving to each other just how tough and dedicated they are.
Though restrictions are now in place, over-tired doctors still do make mistakes. If you've been harmed as a result, you may be able to seek compensation.
Source: Time, "Should Your Doctor Be Napping on the Job?," Dr. Zachary F. Meisel and Dr. Jesse M. Pines, accessed Dec. 30, 2016