Even the mathematically challenged can see that 16 + 10 = 26, which will make scheduling interesting since last time I checked [I love that cliché], a day consists of 24 hours. The new trainees also are mandated to receive more supervision. What is not spelled out is how these new doctors are to learn to work independently the following year when they will be less supervised and stay awake for 24 hours never having done it before. As a practicing surgeon, I am here to testify that after working a full day, I am often called to see patients in the middle of the night. So far, we don’t have a mandatory 10 hours off, although it wouldn’t shock me if that is on someone’s agenda. Also, someone will have to take care of the patients when the first-year residents go home after 16 hours. Who that will be and how they will be funded is not clear.
The American Medical Student Association [AMSA] Thinks the restrictions did not go far enough. "We're going to keep pushing" for stronger limits "because it involves both patient safety and our safety and well-being," Sonia Lazreg, the group's health justice fellow [Wow!*], told The Associated Press. "The fight for safer work hours is not over."
Never mind that the jury is still out regarding the effect of the current work hours restrictions on patient safety, whether more frequent “hand-offs” of patients leads to more errors in patient care than tired doctors, what the long-term impact of these restrictions will be and many other aspects of the issue.
To the AMSA I say, stop whining about work hours. Why did you apply to medical school if you didn’t want to work hard? No one said it was going to be easy. Don’t tell me you didn’t know that doctors work long hours. This reminds me of the type of complaining that people do when they buy a house near an airport and then bitch about the noise. So AMSA members, get over yourselves. If you don’t like it, go to law school.
*(Comment by Skeptical Scalpel, who has applied for a health justice fellowship)