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Doctors Are Sharing Pictures Of Themselves Asleep To Defend A Resident Caught Sleeping

"We are people, not machines."

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A blog post from earlier this month that criticized a medical resident in Mexico for sleeping on the job has led to a social media movement with doctors defending their long hours and need for rest.

In the blog post, the writer chastised the young resident, who reportedly fell asleep at 3 a.m. doing paperwork, and posted a picture of her asleep on a desk.

"We are aware that this is a tiring job but doctors are obliged to do their work," the blogger wrote. "There are dozens of patients in need of attention."

But when Mexican doctor Juan Carlos heard about the criticism, he defended the young doctor by using the hashtag #YoTambienMeDormi ("I've also fallen asleep"), and inadvertently sparked a movement.

"I've also fallen asleep after operating on one, two, three and even four patients on any regular shift," he wrote on Twitter (seen below).

#yotambienmedormi, después de operar 1,2,3 y cuatro pacientes en una guardia cualquiera

Carlos wanted to "expose the differences between the rights of doctors and the rights of patients," he told the BBC.

"As a doctor here in Mexico, it's illegal to take a picture of a patient without their prior consent, even if it's for medical purposes. But a patient can take a photo of a doctor with the sole purpose of damaging our reputation," said Carlos to the BBC.

#yotambienmedormi después de una jornada de guardia de 24h estudiantes de medicina

"IAlsoFellAsleep after a 24-hour shift as a medical student."

Many people in the medical field in Latin America began to use the hashtag to show pictures of themselves sleeping on the job, which often requires young doctors to work shifts of up to 36 hours.

#LoMásLeído en Salud: Con #Yotambienmedormí rechazan críticas a colega por quedarse dormida. http://t.co/j0kJXYfC2t

"36 hours working nonstop is impossible without 10 minutes of rest," wrote Paolo Perez, a surgeon in Ecuador.

#YoTambienMeDormi 36 horas seguidas de trabajo sin parar son imposibles sin 10 minutos de descanzo

But needing to rest after working an unreasonably long shift doesn't mean the doctors aren't good at their jobs, they argue.

#YoTambienMeDormi I've also fallen asleep as a junior doctor without harming a single patient. Try working an 80 hr shift with no break.

The hashtag has been used over 14,000 times, according to Twitter analytics site Topsy, and has begun to spread to other parts of the world.

#YoTambienMeDormi on a 24 hour on call having operated for 19 in a row. Doesn't mean I don't care about my patients.

Ann Romanova, a medical student in Latvia, wrote: "I guess, mostly people think that to be a doc or med student is really easy, so we don't deserve sleep #YoTambienMeDormi."

I guess,mostly people think that to be a doc or med student is really easy,so we dont deserve sleep #YoTambienMeDormi

In the U.S., rules were implemented in 2011 by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education that interns can't work more than 16 hours in a row, while higher resident physicians are limited to 28 hours.

#YoTambiénMeDormí Porque el camino es largo. Pacientes entiendan a sus médicos, se esfuerzan día a día para ayudarles

"#IAlsoFellAsleep because the journey is long. Patients understand your doctors, they put a lot of effort every day to help you."

The hashtag has also served to highlight the sacrifices many doctors make for their profession, including forgoing meals and working for days on end.

#yotambienmedormi Guardias de 36 Hrs, sin postguardia, preparar actividades académicas,sin poder alimentarnos.

"#IAlsoFellAsleep 36-hour shifts, preparing for exams, no time to eat."

Doctors should be treated as normal humans with the same "physiological needs" as everyone else, Mexican doctor Marcela Cueva told the BBC.

"And that doesn't mean that we don't take good care of our patients," he said. "The problem is that nowadays the doctor-patient relationship has been damaged and social media is part of the reason. People are more likely to write when they go through bad experiences rather than good ones."

#yotambienmedormi #Argentina Verguenza en las condiciones que trabajamos medicos residentes de todo el mundo

"It is shameful the conditions doctors around the world have to work in."

"We are people, not machines."

Somos personas, no maquinas. #yotambienmedormi

Rachel Zarrell is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Rachel Zarrell at rachel.zarrell@buzzfeed.com.

Conz Preti es la directora regional para las Américas y trabaja desde Nueva York.

Contact Conz Preti at conz.preti@buzzfeed.com.

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