Health

Surgeon Falls Asleep On Floor After Long Shift (Photos)

| by Simone Stover

Pictures of a Chinese surgeon asleep in a hospital hallway after a long shift have generated mixed responses from the online community.

According to the People's Daily Online's social media account, Luo Heng is a surgeon in a hospital in Dingyuan County, China's Anhui province, reports the Daily Mail. 

On March 30, pictures of Luo sleeping on a hospital floor were taken and posted online. In the pictures, Luo can be sleeping on a makeshift mattress. Although he is barefoot, he can be seen still wearing his scrubs, glasses, and surgical cap and mask. 

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Reports said that Luo had been working through the night, during which he performed two surgeries. He performed three more the following morning. In total, he had been awake for 28 hours before finally succumbing to sleep. 

People took to the Chinese social media site Weibo to express their feelings regarding the pictures. Some expressed concern for the doctor and the fact that he had been awake so long. 

"I hope the media do not promote this," one user wrote. "A doctor is not only a career, but a doctor is also a person." 

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Concern over the number of hours that Luo worked should not be surprising given the debate that already surrounds doctors' working hours. 

For example, in the United States, there has been ongoing controversy regarding first-year medical residents (doctors who have graduated from medical school but are continuing training at hospitals). In 2010, the limit of consecutive hours that such residents could work was changed from 30 hours to 16 hours by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (the organization that creates guidelines for medical trainees), according to The Atlantic.

This decision was made with statistics regarding sleep deprivation in mind. For example, getting only five or six hours of sleep a night can lead to driver impairment similar to that of drunkenness. 

However, according to The Washington Post, research from a study released in February of 2016 shows that rates of death and other complications were pretty much the same in hospitals that limited work hours and hospitals that allowed doctors to exceed such limits for the study. 

In addition, according to MedPage Today, the ACGME announced on March 10 that -- effective July 1 -- it would raise the 16-hour limit to a 28-hour limit, which is the number of hours that the Chinese surgeon worked. 

Despite worries for the Chinese surgeon that are part of this larger debate, many also expressed their awe for the surgeon, praising him for his apparent dedication to his job. 

"The most charming man," a Weibo user wrote, according to the Daily Mail. 

"I salute you, you have worked hard," another said.

Sources: Daily Mail, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, MedPage Today / Photo credit: Phalinn Ooi/Flickr, Weibo via Daily Mail

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