Archives for November 29, 2007

Doctor Anonymous: Change of Shift: Vol 2, Number 12

Doctor Anonymous: Change of Shift: Vol 2, Number 12
Welcome to Change of Shift, the best of the nursing blogosphere!

Graveyard shifts can bring on the actual grave?

In the ‘I never would have believed it’ category:

Overnight shift to be classified as ‘probable’ cancer cause

LONDON, England (AP) — Like UV rays and diesel exhaust fumes, working the graveyard shift will soon be listed as a “probable” cause of cancer.

It is a surprising step validating a concept once considered wacky. And it is based on research that finds higher rates of breast and prostate cancer among women and men whose work day starts after dark.

Next month, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the cancer arm of the World Health Organization, will add overnight shift work as a probable carcinogen.

The American Cancer Society says it will likely follow. Up to now, the U.S. organization has considered the work-cancer link to be “uncertain, controversial or unproven.”

The higher cancer rates don’t prove working overnight can cause cancer. There may be other factors common among graveyard shift workers that raise their risk for cancer.

Hmmm. First thoughts: I’ve always wondered why we have to have a 24 hour world.  Also, insurance rates to rise on night shift workers.

I took care of a lawyer the other day

Lawyers are (probably) people too, and they get injured like the rest of us. I made a comment a while back on Kevin, MD (which I’m too lazy to search for right now) that, IMHO, lawyers are reticent to announce that they’re lawyers in the ED.

A few months ago saw a patient with a small laceration on a digit; after a digital block I left to do something else, then returned once the finger was good and numb to close the wound. I like to chat with patients during suturing; it is mildly distracting to the patient, and me (suturing is dull after the first thousand lacerations or so):

The conversation, as I remember it:

  • me: So, how’d this happen, again?
  • pt: Caught it between a dresser and the wall; I’m moving (out of state).
  • me: Aah. Moving for a new job?
  • pt: No, same job, different headquarters; kind of a promotion.
  • me: Good for you. What do you do?
  • pt: …I’m a lawyer…an Oil and Gas Lawyer, I don’t do any medmal.

That last part shot out of the patient’s mouth so fast, and loud, the patient in the cubicle across the hall started laughing.

We both laughed mutually, at the humor of the discomfort of his statement, and that his reaction caused laughter in others.

The finger was closed, and that was the end of the interaction, but it was amusing. And I probably won’t be sued by an Oil and Gas lawyer; at least, not by him directly.