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This is a short work week for those of us not on call or on duty, or keeping the animals healthy, securing our infrastructure, or having job security for college. There are many people in medical college who keep working over weekends and holidays, and the rest of us depend on them all. I’m having lamb and ratatouille this Thanksgiving and thinking about what I’m thankful for this season. I will remember with favors all of you who still work for us.
With Michigan again the most successful COVID transmission and replication website (another version of the New York Times) in the country, our hospitals are full and struggling again. Nurses are exhausted, respiratory therapists are exhausted, and doctors, housekeeping and social workers are exhausted. Emergency rooms have spilled into hallways, lounges, and surgical recovery departments, meaning anyone who goes to the emergency room could spend hours (or days!) On a stretcher in a hallway. It’s a terrible way of getting and providing medical care.
In some of our hospitals, medical and surgical residents have been withdrawn from their usual rotations to serve in inpatient and intensive care units. These young doctors in training will work 60-80 hours a week six days out of seven until that increase settles down. You will miss rotations that are likely to be more in line with your later career path, with less workload, weekends, and holidays off. I am always grateful to our residents; they are absolutely at the heart of academic medical programs, but this Thanksgiving, I am especially grateful for the general practitioners, their talent, perseverance, and dedication.
And I am grateful for all the people who make the College of Human Medicine such a force for the good in our world. Every Friday, at the end of the town hall, I close with one version of it: I want to thank each of you for being a part of the college and supporting our staff, students, alumni and faculties in their work. It is this great work that makes college such a special place, where patients are helped, discoveries are made, our communities are made better and healthier, and our students become leaders who will change the world. Every week, I mean every single word of it and every week it’s true. Today is Wednesday and I hope you have a holiday tomorrow. And if not, thanks for all you do.
To serve people with you,
Aron Sousa, MD