The Last Bastion of Indentured Servitude

For the past three years, I've been working obscene hours. I've sometimes been working upwards of 80-120 hours/week, sometimes including stints lasting 30 hours in a row or so. Sure, I'm allowed to catch maybe 30 minutes to an hour of sleep here or there while I'm on the job, but the times when that actually happens are few and far between. But I guess I kind of knew what I was getting into before I started. I should consider myself lucky, since it's only been four years since work-hour restrictions have been enacted. While we're never supposed to work more than 80 hours a week, this doesn't always happen. Programs that are in violation of it can lose their accreditation, like Johns Hopkins did when they refused to adhere to it. It's really all for the best. I don't understand how it's a good thing for someone who is utterly exhausted to the point of incoherence to try to work, sometimes in mission critical settings. There's plenty of research out there that shows the rate of committing serious and sometimes even fatal mistakes increases drastically the more hours you work in a row. Being sleep-deprived is like being stinking drunk, only it wasn't as much fun to get to that point. The other reason why I'm pretty tired is that the anti-depressants I'm on are really sedating. It's gotten to the point where my psychiatrist recommended that I take modafinil, also known as Provigil. It's a non-stimulant medication that keeps you awake. Without it, I basically sleep as soon as I get home, and then wake up just before I have to get to work. Daily chores never get done, and I'm always dragging. It's much better now, and I don't feel all jittery and crazed like when I drink too much coffee, or if I were on amphetamines like Ritalin. Man, what I wouldn't do to win the lottery, and end up living life as a bum on some unnamed beach in Mexico, with nothing but my guitar and a bottle of tequila.
victorious victorious
26-30, M
1 Response Apr 25, 2007

It seems counter intuitive to expect such work schedules of doctors, I mean, duhhh you're responsible for human life at its most vulnerable. I'm sure it's illegal, not to mention unethical, to come to work intoxicated in your position. With all the research done on sleep, shouldn't it be just as unethical to practice medicine when tired and to the point of incoherence? Who are the geniuses that come up with hospital work schedules?