Medical residents lament having to work 26-hour shifts, pay for babysitter with spouses in reserves

Renee Ghert-Zand is the health reporter and a feature writer for The Times of Israel.

Mirsham, an organization for medical residents in Israel, demands that the Health Ministry and hospitals quickly find a way to improve the extremely difficult work conditions of trainees during the war.

Hundreds of medical residents have been on their own, some with kids to look after, with their life partners serving in the IDF reserves since October 7. Required to work 26-hour shifts, they find themselves unable to do their work properly and provide sufficient attention to their children.

In one letter shared by Mirsham, a resident writes that she is seriously considering taking leave without pay because of the situation.

“The system has abandoned me, my husband in the reserves, and our young children… I work in an internal medicine ward that demands that I show up at 7 a.m…. I rely on a babysitter to [take care] of the children [from morning through the night] — and I won’t even get into the expense of it all,” she writes.

“The senior doctors in the department don’t seem to care who is with my children at night or whether I can function with them after a long, intensive shift,” she continues.

The resident also shares her concern for her children’s psychological health, with both their parents away from the home so much while the whole country is suffering from trauma and uncertainty.

Some hospitals have daycare and educational frameworks for employees’ children, but many do not. Those that do have such facilities are not necessarily set up to run them long-term.

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