The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) released a proposal last month that will affect physicians in their first year of training after medical school. Currently, there are regulations to prevent these doctors from working more than 16 hours at a time. The new proposal wants to remove these limits, extending the maximum shift to 28 consecutive hours.
There is an outpouring of public discourse on the issue with valid arguments on all sides. Should we keep the current restrictions or implement the new proposal?
Here’s the thing: Neither side addresses the root of the issue. Permanent, cultural reformation does not start nor end here. In fact, this debate is simply a product of a damaged system, a reflection of how harmful health care has become. I want to talk about the bigger picture.
Darrell Harrington, MD is the Director of Graduate Medical Education at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. He said it best when he told me: “As long as we are talking about hours, we are stuck.”
Jamie Katuna is a medical student.