Monday, April 18, 2011

Hung-over surgeons more error-prone | Reuters

Surgeons might want to steer clear of alcohol the night before operating, according to a new report that shows a hangover fuels errors during simulated surgery.

While there is no question about the immediate effects of alcohol on surgical skills, there aren't any rules for how much doctors can drink the day before going to the operating room.

"Historically, the medical profession has had a reputation for high rates of alcohol consumption," Anthony Gallagher, of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, and colleagues write in the Archives of Surgery.

"It is likely that surgeons are unaware that next-day surgical performance may be compromised as a result of significant alcohol intake."

To measure the degree of that impairment, the researchers invited eight surgeons and 16 students out for a night on the town.

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