Drinking night before impairs surgeon's skills the next day

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted May 2, 2011

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

Surgeons who become intoxicated the evening before surgery are prone to errors in the operating room, says a study in the April issue of Archives of Surgery.

In related experiments, researchers evaluated the performance of laparoscopic students and experts after a night of drinking. Sixteen students at Queen's University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, were randomly selected to either drink or abstain from alcohol, and eight experts at Yale University School of Medicine in Connecticut were instructed to drink.

All participants trained on the Minimally Invasive Surgical Trainer Virtual Reality. Those in the drinking groups ate dinner and consumed alcohol until intoxicated, said the study (link).

Subjects were evaluated the next day at 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. on how long it took them to conduct the MIST-VR, how well they used diathermy and whether they made errors. Surgeons in the alcohol groups showed deterioration on all performance measures, even as late as 4 p.m.

Note: This item originally appeared at

Back to top



Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story

Read story


American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story

Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story

Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story

Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story

Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story

Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story

Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story

  • Stay informed
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • LinkedIn