I finally feel avenged. In 1977, I led a strike by the Interns and Residents Union against the County of L.A. Dept. of Health to obtain a shorter work week, higher pay, and a greater allocation towards patient care equipment. It's nice to see that only 26 years later, partial emancipation has come to the plantation.


Medical Residents Limited to 80-Hour Week
Wed Feb 19,10:37 AM ET

By Kim Dixon

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Doctors-in-training in the United States--who work
marathon shifts and 120-hour weeks that critics say lead to medical
mistakes--cannot work more than an average of 80 hours a week, a body
that accredits medical residents said on Tuesday.

Under new rules approved by the nonprofit
Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical
Education, medical residents must also get
one day off out of seven and a 10-hour rest
between being on call and working a shift. The
rules, which schools must follow to be
certified, take effect July 1.

The vote by the council's board of directors
means the standards "go from being a should,
to a must" in order to pass muster with the
accrediting body, said Julie Jacob, a
spokeswoman for the group.

Medical residents and the consumer group Public Citizen prefer federal
standards, saying a private group lacks teeth to enforce the rules. But the
government rejected a petition to a federal agency on that front last year.

The Committee on Interns and Residents, a union that represents 12,000
residents in the United States, said the move "is going in the right direction,
but the weakness is enforceability," according to executive director Mark
Levy.

Another flaw are loopholes that allow residents to extend, for example, the
24-hour shift limit by six additional hours, Levy said.

The union is working to enact tougher laws on the state level, using a New
York law as a model.

Critics say medical residents are now overworked, clocking an average 120
hours per week, a situation they argue leads to medical errors and deaths.

By making the standards mandatory, the accrediting group and the
American Medical Association hope to head off federal legislation on
residents' hours.

Certification with the council is voluntary, but many medical colleges seek it
for recognition, state board certification, and to qualify for federal Medicare
funding.

The group accredits about 7,800 medical residency programs involving about
100,000 trainees.