She goes on the say “Is the toll that working odd hours [takes] worth it? Is the exhaustion EM physicians experience jeopardizing patient safety?”
The author asks, “What are possible solutions to this problem since the highest need for EM clinical coverage is in the evenings and nights when office-based doctors have already gone home?” I can’t think of many.
There are two major issues.
1. Work hours. Hold on a minute, I thought the fuss was about docs working inordinately long hours, like 30 at a time. You mean to tell me that even a 12 hour shift [the longest stretch that any ED MD has to work] causes exhaustion to the point of jeopardizing patient safety? How can this be? Don’t let the ACGME find out or everyone will be working 4-hour shifts. Can we close emergency rooms at, say, 5 pm? I’m not sure the public will buy into that since they are already up in arms about all things related to medical care. And who would order the CT scans?
2. Family considerations. With a few exceptions such as dermatology, radiation medicine and rehabilitation medicine, all medical specialties interfere with family life. Either practice one of the previously mentioned “9 to 5” specialties or consider a career change.
Can you think of any other solutions to this problem?