Expect more of this to happen:
As a group, specialists are getting older and less willing to work on call. Many specialists say they fear they are more likely to get sued by emergency patients than by their regular patients, who know and trust them. Even when hospitals pay doctors for working on call, specialists often make less money working emergencies than they do caring for regular patients.
And, as fewer specialists work on call, the burden falls heavier on those who remain.
“You have to understand the risk that these people are taking, and the life balance issues they are facing,” Eixenberger said. “There comes a time when everybody in their life has to say, ‘Why am I doing this?'”