Resident work hour restrictions

Boston’s BI-Deaconess’ surgery program was cited for violations of the strict resident work hour restrictions. No doubt, this is happening in hospitals across the country:

“When your 80 hours are up on Friday and someone comes in with a ruptured aneurysm, we don’t have the luxury of saying ‘Sorry, I have to go home,’” said Dr. Scott Johnson, a transplant surgeon who has headed the hospital’s surgery training program since November. “Every hospital in the country is struggling with this issue.”

Surgical residencies are placed under more strain, since the work is more demanding, and the size of the programs are generally smaller.

One way or another, hospitals are going to pay dearly for the restrictions. The cheap labor that residents provide will be severely curtailed (moreso if the proposal for the 56-hour cap passes).

Also, hospitals will be forced to hire a cadre of mid-level providers to support the residents and get them home on time.

As an aside, I find it amusing that BI-Deaconess has banished pre-rounding:

Many residents who violated this rule were working late and then coming in as early as 4 a.m. to prepare for early-morning patient conferences, called rounds, with senior doctors.

Johnson said that Beth Israel Deaconess prohibited “pre-rounding” three years ago . . .

How can they possibly enforce this? It’s bizarrely stigmatizing dedication to patients.

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  • Anonymous

    This is idiotic. The only way to reduce the number of work hours is to have more residents or more extenders. But, you can’t get more residents if you’re in violation of work hour restricts.

    As an MS3, I wasn’t looking forward to my surgical rotation, but looking back I would not have been able to learn 1/2 of what I did if I had been on an 80 hour work week. The notion that residents can learn enough in 80 (or heaven forbid 56) hours/week is insane.

  • Anonymous

    Are we sure that this isn’t some back door way of justifying paying less to those “rich, whiney doctors”? Its easier to cut someone’s paycheck when that person didn’t have to work so hard to complete training. Of course that person’s skills won’t be worth as much anyway…

  • Anonymous

    I’m just a commoner, one of the people you guys signed up for med school to “help.” Just stopping by to say what’s up. I find it weird that you guys bicker about work hour restrictions.

    Why don’t you ask your patients? Tell them the whole truth. Both sides, no hiding any facts.

    Tired, groggy, resident who’s seen more vs. alert resident who’s seen less.

    How much more can you learn after hour 16 of your work? I’m wondering because I’m an Engineer. After 8 hours of math problems in my cube my mind shuts down, I walk to the window and look out, then I walk back to my cube, then I walk to the bathroom and sit on the toilet for much longer than nature calls, then I walk around. I also day dream. By hour 12 I’m just stare at my pen and pad. I don’t think I’m weak, maybe just human. Are doctors human?

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