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COVID-19 crisis lays bare resident abuse in New York hospitals: Medscape Family Medicine

corona photo by mohamed Hassan courtesy of (creative commons)

This is something I’ve been meaning to post about but never had time until now (things have settled down a little bit.) This article is from “Medscape Family Medicine” on April 28, 2020 and it’s called “COVID-19 Crisis Exposes Resident Abuse”. It describes the “abuse” of medical residents… they are conveniently indentured servants to hospitals during this crisis (and before, and after.)

When the Great Dying hit the hospitals in New York in March and April, the residents were conveniently available to do the grueling and dangerous work of taking care for all the patients sick enough with COVID-19 to be admitted to hospital. The attending physicians, by and large, were in hiding, not available to help when they were supposed to be training the residents.

You’ve never experienced abuse of this kind unless you’ve been a medical resident. I only lasted a year at that, and then I took the easy way out by joining the Public Health Service on an Indian reservation. That wasn’t much more fun, but it was better than being forced to work 80-hour weeks and be on call every third night, up all night, asked to do things I had no training for, etc.

Anyway, this is an article about what happens when understaffed hospitals are faced with too many patients: the residents are forced to take up the slack. Even the nurses have it better: they get paid better and their shifts are limited. Read it and weep.

One of the ER doctors notoriously committed suicide in April after she returned to work too soon when she was recovering from a bout of COVID-19. She had no previous history of mental illness– in fact, no one could understand why she would kill herself. She only took ten days off with the virus. Surprise, surprise.

Then there were the medical student and the psychiatry resident who killed themselves two years ago… there wasn’t even a coronavirus then.

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