#YoTambienMeDormi: I’ve Also Fallen Asleep
That sweet, altered state of consciousness we gratefully sink into each day, leaving us blissfully unaware even if for a handful of moments. That is, enough handfuls to consume 1/3 of our lives.
I am talking about sleep, of course. And yet, I have to wonder if this statistic holds true for doctors and residents, working 80 hours a week, or far more since prior to the 2003 change, workweek limitations were followed shakily. In fact, a 2002 study found that over 60% of New York’s teaching hospitals (the only state with legally binding hourly workweek restrictions) violated the loosely upheld 80-hour workweek limitation. The current 2003 ruling states that medical residents can work no more than 80 hours a week, take call no more than one night in three, and work no more than 30-hours in one shift with at least 10-hours off between shifts. Upheld by placing the teaching accreditation of hospitals on the line, this shift accompanies research showing sleep deprived residents 22 percent more likely to commit medical errors, and medical interns working at least five long shift per month up to 300 percent more likely to commit preventable errors resulting in patient fatalities. To strengthen limitations and protect patients and doctors alike, an additional regulation was added in 2011 to prevent interns from working 24 hour shifts. Similar, if not more stringent, regulations have been set in place across Europe, however many countries have slept through making such changes.
Mexico is one of these countries. Residents in Mexico can face up to 36-hour shifts, a grueling 12-hours longer than what my colleagues and I will soon face. It is no surprise then that a recent blogger found a junior doctor asleep while doing paperwork. After posting the image to their blog, the blogger commented, “We are aware that this is a tiring job but doctors are obliged to do their work. There are dozens of patients in need of attention.”
In response, doctors across Mexico began posting images of themselves sleeping on the job using the #YoTambienMeDormi, or I’ve also fallen asleep, as their calling card. This quickly spread across the social media empire, as doctors and healthcare professionals across the world posted pictures of themselves asleep in the hospital with the same hashtag.
As medical doctors, or in my case, doctor in training, it is important to remember the profound effect social media can have on the way we are viewed across the world. It is important to stand together, whether or not you agree with the imposed workweek limitations and remind people that we are not superhuman, but instead regular people trying to do our job and help those in need, and as it turns out, sleep is kind of important. I may have only been in the hospital for a few short weeks thus far, but #YoTambienMeDormi.
This article is written by Sebastian Hyman, a current 1st year medical student at MUSM. Check out his new YouTube video channel: DoctoredImagesMD
Image taken from http://partedeconfirmacion.blogspot.com/