Shocking, simply shocking. A recent article highlighted unintended consequences of the most recent changes in resident work hour rules.
Why does the ACGME impose work hour restrictions without considering unintended consequences like increased medical errors due to increased patient hand offs?
I graduated residency in the “dark ages” (1999) but rarely worked more than 80 hours a week. While rounding post call was never pleasant, it did prepare me for “real life.” Today, I worked 12 hours in the clinic then drove 3 hours to the state capitol so I could testify in support of expanded funding for family medicine residencies. In my first 7 years of practice doing family medicine with Ob and hospital work, I took call for 1 week at a time while covering my own Ob patients 24-7.
The ACGME seems to extrapolate from existing data without studying the impact of its past actions. As a surgeon medical school classmate of mine says, life has no work hour rules. A rural physician colleague who still does C sections and appendectomies told me last month he no longer hires third year family medicine residents from his own alma mater because they don’t have enough experience. He only hires grads who complete the program’s 1 year rural medicine fellowship. When I see graduates of the program where I am now faculty say they can’t do inpatient and outpatient medicine at the same time, our training model is gravely flawed and further fragments health care at a time when more well-trained generalists are needed.