In the U.S., physicians fresh out of medical school regularly work far more hours than those in the U.K. and the European Union. Despite efforts by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education to cut hours to curtail mistakes, medical residents reported routinely exceeding the limits, based on a survey of 4,000 residents conducted between July 2002 and May 2004.

Limit of consecutive work hours for residents in:

U.K. and E.U.: 13

U.S.: 30

Limit of work hours per week in:

U.K. and E.U.: 58

U.S.: 80

Percent in the U.S. who worked more than 30 hours consecutively at least once: 67

Percent who worked more than 80 hours per week: 43

Percent of monthly work logs that showed some violation: 44

SOURCES: Journal of the American Medical Association, September 6; British Medical Association; “Medical Residents Overworked despite New Work Rules” on www.sciam.com (September 5).