Thursday, October 02, 2008

Doctors as Titans

R- often describes the founders of modern medicine as Titans, superhuman, looming over mere mortals with their larger than life presence. In some ways cultivating the exalted status the medical profession enjoys (doctor was the highest status job in some New York Times article some years ago, college professor was down around the 75th percentile).

Flipping through an issue of Hopkins medicine, there was one article about the passing of someone they literally described as a “towering international figure.” It was also interesting. The cover story was about work-life balance. It is funny, that most civilians think the 80 hour restrictions with the 30+ hour shifts every 4 days is insanely too high, and leads to tired doctors and needless mistakes. Instead, in this article, nearly every quote is of a Hopkins doctor talking about how working ONLY 80 hours, and ending a shift at ONLY 30 hours demonstrates a disgraceful lack of commitment to their patients, and anyone who wouldn’t happily put in those hours is a disgrace to the profession.


It seems like the profession is changing. And the younger doctors interviewed didn't feel that way. But Wow.

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