Bmj Usa: Editorial

The working and learning environment for physicians in training in the US

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjusa.02020002 (Published 19 November 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:E88
  1. Peter Y Watson (Peter_Watson@ama-assn.org), Resident trustee
  1. American Medical Association, Chicago, Illinois, USA

    Limits on resident work hours, with financial and staff support, are needed

    This article originally appeared in BMJ USA

    As in Europe, interns and residents have played a critical role in the US health care system for decades. Generations of young physicians fresh from medical school have willingly exchanged up to 130 hours each week fulfilling the service and educational requirements of their training programs for the experience of patient care and the promise of a career in medicine. As we enter a new century however, this “rite of passage” endured by thousands of physicians has fallen under greater scrutiny by the American public.

    In 1984, a young woman (Libby Zion) admitted to a New York hospital died due to an adverse drug reaction allegedly missed by a fatigued and overworked resident. Although a subsequent grand jury investigation found no fault with the physician or hospital, the public outcry surrounding the case resulted in strict regulations in the state of New York that mandated limits on resident work hours. …

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