[Warning] New Hospital Rule Could Kill You
Imagine: it’s 3 a.m. and you’ve just been rushed to the hospital.
Your chest hurts. You’re struggling to breathe.
A doctor in a white coat finally appears, and you notice something alarming.
Her looks like he hasn’t slept in days — and maybe he hasn’t.
You could be the next victim of an alarming new rule that may be rolled out in hospitals across the country… one that could prove deadly for you or someone you love.
Until now, medical residents (basically new doctors) have been limited to working for no more than 16 hours without a break.
And that rule that was absolutely nuts to begin with.
I mean, would you really want to be treated at midnight by a doctor who’s been working since 8 a.m.? That’s outrageous!
And, believe it or not, things are about to get much, much worse.
A proposed rule would have these new doctors working for as many as 28 hours at a stretch.
This insanity was suggested by The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), which apparently wants our hospitals run like North Korean labor camps.
They’re claiming that these marathon shifts would “improve medical training by giving young doctors more realistic experience.”
Is that the craziest thing you’ve ever heard? What’s realistic (or smart) about some medical resident fighting to stay awake while he puts a tube in your throat?
Dr. Michael Carome, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, explains: “Study after study shows that sleep-deprived resident physicians are a danger to themselves, their patients and the public.”
Amen to that. This is about staffing hospitals with the cheapest labor they can find — simple as that.
We don’t need a trial run of this new rule to know it’s a treacherous idea. Just ask 31-year-old neurosurgeon Larry Schlachter.
On his way to the hospital one morning, Larry completely blacked out. “He crashed his car and crushed his chest; broken ribs punctured his thorax, which filled with air and blood,” The Atlantic reports.
This was after a grueling 120-hour workweek that left Larry on what he calls “the brink of awareness.”
The damage to Larry’s sense of balance is irreparable. Since returning to work he has fallen several times, twice onto patients.
I mean, do we really want to see more of this?
A trip to the ER is stressful enough without the added alarm of an exhausted and uneasy doctor tending to your symptoms.
If you haven’t slept at least seven hours in the past 24 hours, AAA says you shouldn’t even drive a car. But letting sleep-deprived physicians make life-or-death decisions is somehow OK?
It is up to us to make some noise about this, before it’s too late. You can submit a complaint to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration here.
And if you ever feel like you’re dealing with a doctor who seems too exhausted to do his job, ask for someone else. You may end up saving your own life.