Whenever I chat with my friend who is in a neurology residency program, I always feel a little guilty talking about my life — everything from the trips I am taking to the flexibility of my job to the fact that I can work remotely (doctors… can’t really work remotely). But today, I actually got angry at her industry when she told me that at the current hospital where she’s working, there is no recognized family leave, maternal or paternal. When the doctors in the hospital have a baby, they have to take time out of their sick leave (which is only about a week and a half) and their vacation time (that’s only two-ish weeks). Then, they have to make up that time later.
“What the fuck?” I just blurted it out, not that my friend minds my occasional potty mouth, but I was just in total shock and disgust. I know at this point, I really should not be surprised at all; the U.S. is the only industrialized country in the world to have zero legal paid family leave (wasn’t it only Papua New Guinea that didn’t… and it’s sad to even put ourselves in the same category as them?) and to not recognize that new parents should be with their children. But it hurts even more to think that those in the medical profession, people who are devoting their lives to the health and wellness of others, can’t even take care of themselves and their new family members, and their lives are discounted.
It’s no wonder doctors are committing suicide and burning out at faster rates than the average person. Their lives and even their babies’ lives don’t matter to their employers.