If you’re in a hospital getting looked over by a doc, look him over too. And if he asks how you feel, you might want to ask him the same question.
You may have come in off the back of an ambulance… but that doc might be in rougher shape than you are!
New regulations will allow interns — docs still wet behind the ears and working on their residency — to pull shifts up to 28 HOURS LONG, 12 hours longer than the current 16-hour max.
That doesn’t just sound nutty.
That IS nutty.
This has been studied. Repeatedly.
When Harvard researchers looked into it, they found interns literally asleep standing up.
Is THAT the kind of “care” you want when your life is on the line?
They found interns in the ICU for 24 hours or more made 36 percent more serious errors than interns working 16 hours of less — including mistakes with medication and even wrong diagnoses.
Yet the industry is making the change anyway.
“Just as drivers learn to drive under supervision in real life on the road, residents must prepare in real patient-care settings for the situations they will encounter after graduation,” ACGME’s Dr. Thomas Nasca said last year when he proposed the change.
Wonderful comparison. Glad he brought it up, because truck drivers are limited to 11 hours of driving, and then REQUIRED to take 10 hours off.
The rule exists because being overly tired is the same as being drunk — and we don’t want an impaired driver taking out a school bus on the highway.
Yet THAT’S who could be caring for you in the ER or ICU… an intern so short of sleep he’s basically three sheets to the wind.
Why? It’s NOT about giving docs the best training, and it sure as heck isn’t about giving patients the best care.
It’s about the same thing everything else is about: MONEY!
Interns — a.k.a. residents, because they used to literally LIVE in the hospital — are as close to indentured servants as you’ll find here in 2017.
They work long hours and make peanuts.
Medicare pays $130,000 to each hospital for each intern, and the intern gets $60K of that… with no overtime, despite 80-hour workweeks (yes, 80 hours).
The hospital doesn’t just get a FREE worker. They get to KEEP the extra money over that $60K and work the poor intern into the ground.
And you get a doc so pooped that he’s asleep standing up.
You can’t always control who you see in the ER. In some cases, you may not even know where you are or how you got there.
So, call this one more reason to make sure everyone in your family knows what to do when someone is laid up in the hospital.
Take turns watching over each other, like a family of hawks. Watch every doc, every drug, and every diagnosis — and if you sniff out something that doesn’t seem right, get a second opinion.
Ideally, get it from someone who’s awake.