Death By Overwork - Comments?

Discussion in 'Clinical Rotations' started by Morgus, Aug 31, 2001.

  1. Morgus

    Morgus Junior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Aug 3, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Hi everyone! I think the following post should be required reading for all involved in the training of resident doctors.

    On this Labor Day Weekend in the US, it's interesting to consider that the concept of reasonable working hours for all jobs and professions--EXCEPT MEDICINE--was enacted into law by the Federal Government some 100 years ago. When are we doctors going to stop making excuses about why 100-120 hour and higher work weeks are "necessary for effective training"?

    State Medical Boards that deal with the problem of "The Impaired Physician" readily tackle issues of incompetence in medicine induced by alcohol and drug abuse, but look the other way at hours in residency programs. Sleep doctors and scientists have rigorously shown evidence that sleep deprivation causes structural and biochemical brain damage, some of which is irreversible, as well as evidence of massive systemic cellular and humoral immunosuppression from chronically elevated cortisol levels so resultant. I did a sleep medicine elective rotation, and repeatedly asked why the science coming from the studies being conducted never made it into the medical workplace itself. There was never an acceptable response.

    Those who believe that 36 hour call makes for better doctors should ask for an airline pilot who has been up for 30 hours the next time they take a 6 hour flight. :eek: It would only be fair to require the same level of performance from others that you require from resident doctors. And, of course, to experience the same risks that are experienced by those doctors and their patients.

    Again, whether we agree or disagree, I ask all to give their honest opinions here based on lucid thinking, without primitive savagery more becoming of Australopithecus africanus.

    Best to all,
    Doctor Morgus :cool:
  2. MacGyver

    MacGyver Membership Revoked

    Aug 8, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Bravo, Dr. Morgan, I agree completley.

    I am so sick of hearing program directors and attendings claim that the ONLY way to get fully trained is to go into sleep deprivatin to do so.

    After all, why dont we see these attendings/PDs working 130 hours a week? Why dont we see them try to stay up for 50 hours straight instead of the normal 36?

    Surely we could learn EVEN MORE if we required our residents to work 150 hours a week instead of a paltry 130. Come on, you cant even learn anything with such a weak schedule.

    Its time this line of reasoning is exposed as the fraud that it truly is. Nobody learns complex, new surgical procedures after beign up 36 hours strait. In fact, you dont learn much of anything and can barely think clearly after such long periods.

    So lets stop fooling ourselves into thinking that we are really learning new stuff when its perfectly clear those are just wishful thoughts.
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  3. DCStudent

    DCStudent Junior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Aug 16, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Dr. Morgus,

    Please check your profile for a private message I sent you.


    Adam Alexander

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