Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Tuesday is Reader Mail Day!!

Mo liked the New York Times article on young doctors choosing less demanding specialties, and she found a good quote that I missed. (See blog 1/8)

I also hope, as the NY Times article on young women doctors suggested, that a shift is going on in our society, away from slaving away at the job and toward putting the family higher on the priority list. I couldn't believe what one doctor said about the younger MDs he comes across:

"When residents come looking for jobs, they ask, `How often do I have to take night call,' " he said. "There's less intensity, less determination and less devotion.""

Less devotion... to the JOB, not to the family. So clearly their priorities are screwed up! Given the prevalance of attitudes like that in the workplace, is it any wonder women just throw up their hands in frustration? And sometimes just quit?

Another reader, Loren, also had bad experiences in hospitals. (See blog 1/7)

...your advice for entering a hospital hit home for us: when our little guy (now seven months) was born he was a few weeks early and we had to bring him back to the intensive care for jaundice. Getting in was stressful enough, but getting out was horrendous. We just wanted our little guy home once he was well, and out of that depressing windowless place urrounded by so much sadness (very little more heartwrenching, I've decided, than the infant intensive care in the early morning hours, but that may just point to my limited experiences and relative good luck in life).

But after all our son's tests suggested he'd bounced right back to normal, we couldn't get straight answers from anyone in the unit about how long he'd have to stay, save a condescending resident who basically told us our son have to stay in a light box with IVs and probes stuck to him for over a week, probably more. My wife is a geneticist and I've dabbled in some epidemiology and public health, so together we figured out most of the journals and protocols for jaundice-related complications, but when we finally got to talk to the senior attending physician about why their standards for treatment and observation were way, way more conservative than the American pediatrics guidelines and ignored the lack of any published evidence for complications of the kind she gave us horror stories about, she referred us to their litigation specialist and walked away. We were livid, but thankfully our own pediatrican agreed with us rather than the hospital lawyers, and had us out in a reasonable time.

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