* * Anonymous Doc

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Posting will be back to normal by tomorrow. Today, finally, is the last day of an insane two weeks on an every-third-night-overnight rotation that has killed me and made it impossible to get rid of the cold I'm fighting which I think now isn't so much a cold but some sort of allergic reaction to not sleeping enough. I realize that is not a medical diagnosis, and I apologize for that. Part of the struggle is that the rotation was designed to be every 4th night overnight, but one of the other residents just had a baby, and so the way the program compensated was to just make the rest of us work longer hours. I don't begrudge someone for having a baby, of course. But how a medical program-- that knows exactly what pregnancy and having a baby involves, because of the work we do-- can make it so difficult for someone to have a baby is really absurd. They don't get maternity leave at all-- they have to use vacation time. And if there's no one who's able to cover-- if the two extra "swing" people at any given time are already being used for something else-- the other residents just have to make up the slack. As if the hours weren't too long already. All it does is force us to resent the person who had a baby, which isn't fair. Not that it's a walk in the park for her either-- so now she has no vacation time for the next year, after a phenomenally generous 4 weeks off to spend with the baby. Because why would a new mother need any days off for the next year? And she goes right back into an every-4th-night-overnight rotation herself, two weeks from now. Fortunately, outpatient clinic time returns tomorrow, and even though most of my colleagues find outpatient clinic time to be insanely boring, at least it lets us have some tiny semblance of a life. Next year's schedules being released on Friday-- something terrifying to look forward to! Yay!


  1. That is insane. It would be nice if the medical hierarchy would stop abusing care providers. Becoming a doctor should not be a hell tour. I don't understand why the training is so brutal, it causes more problems than it solves.

    By the way... when you have kids, that allergic reaction to not sleeping? Lasts for a couple years. I'm on year three with no end in sight.


  2. Doctors need a union, man! I pity you like migrant farm workers, sometimes. The fact you guys put up with this for money or prestige just makes me feel how deeply weird the 95th income percentile must be. Their idea of what's "worth it" and how important it is to be on top is so different I can hardly imagine ever agreeing with them politically.

    This is assuming that you're the outsider, and most of them don't dislike it the way you do.

  3. I liked your take, as a male, on the injustices of how programs handle pregnancy. While of course you acknowledge some inevitable resentment at the woman who "caused" this, you seem to see the big picture, including her perspective ... This is nice to hear as a pregnant woman. And yes, women have been training to be doctors for decades (and becoming moms since the dawn of time - or we wouldn't be here.) So why programs can't manage a bit better planning is beyond me. The women I know of who have become pregnant during training have gone out of there way to try to plan their own biology as conveniently as possible for others. Even when such planning is not possible, it's not as though there isn't ample warning of the impending scheduling snafu.

  4. I have to disagree wholeheartedly with the commenter that is advocating a physician's union. Doctors have been stripped of enough independence by insurance companies, bureaucrats, lawyers, and all the rest - adding union bureaucracy to the mix would only make it worse.

    The issue isn't that physician's need representation - they have it. It's called the American Medical Association. But, as long as the AMA continues to sell out physicians, doctors will continue to get steam-rolled by the system.