Medicine: Re-Examining the 36-Hour Day

New York State leads a movement to change the way U.S. doctors are trained

The hours are endless. The pay is paltry. The tasks are often menial, the responsibilities terrifying. And for this, one must spend four years slaving in medical school and acquiring a debt that averages more than $30,000. For decades, doctors have argued the merits of medical residency -- the grueling and sleepless years of specialty training that constitute a rite of passage into American medical practice. Senior physicians defend the traditional residency as a necessary part of the toughening-up process for professionals who must deal with emergencies and late-night awakenings throughout their careers. Young residents complain that it is cruel and...

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