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Residents’ hours drop just in time for healthcare reform

Residents have such long work hours! I fully support residents only having to work 56 hours a week: Last week several groups, including Public Citizen and the American Medical Student Association, along with leading medical researchers, petitioned the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to step in and limit the number of hours that physicians-in-training can […]

Residents have such long work hours! I fully support residents only having to work 56 hours a week:

Last week several groups, including Public Citizen and the American Medical Student Association, along with leading medical researchers, petitioned the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to step in and limit the number of hours that physicians-in-training can work. They contend that shorter hours will protect patients as well as the doctors’ own health and safety.

Resident physicians should have work limits to reduce mistakes caused by fatigue, just as the federal government restricts the time spent working for employees in aviation, railroad, maritime and highway transportation jobs, according to the advocates.

The groups want OSHA to require that hospitals record and retain the work schedules of residents and fellows and that the agency conduct surprise inspections, establish confidential whistle-blower procedures and levy fines for violations.

Responsibility for regulating and enforcing work hours for resident physicians now falls to the Chicago-based Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

I say, go for it!

Then make sure attendings get the same treatment.

After all, we know medical issues only happen during the day. As you can plainly see, as we extrapolate these same workplace restrictions to attending physicians, nurses will risk being in violation of OSHA regulations if they call us after hours!

Perfect!

No, more late night interruptions of my sleep cycles. No more weekend call! Patient’s won’t suffer a bit! Even they’ll get more sleep! See how good this will be for everyone? Especially when we add tens of millions of more people to the health care ranks in 2014 – everyone’s going to LOVE the hours!

Really. I’m likin’ this!

Westby G. Fisher, MD, FACC is a board certified internist, cardiologist, and cardiac electrophysiologist (doctor specializing in heart rhythm disorders) practicing at NorthShore University HealthSystem in Evanston, IL, USA and is a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at University of Chicago's Pritzker School of Medicine. He entered the blog-o-sphere in November, 2005. He writes regularly at Dr. Wes. DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed in this blog are strictly the those of the author(s) and should not be construed as the opinion(s) or policy(ies) of NorthShore University HealthSystem, nor recommendations for your care or anyone else's. Please seek professional guidance instead.

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