Monday, March 9, 2009

Libby Zion, RIP

Approximately 25 years ago (March 5th to be precise), 18-year Libby Zion died. Admitted to the hospital the day before with a fever and "strange jerking motions", the residents gave her meperidine to control the movements. Later, still agitated, the resident when called prescribed an antipsychotic and ordered that she be put in restraints. A few hours alter she died of cardiac arrest.

When her father found out that she had been 'treated' by residents, that no attending physician had seen her, that she had been tied down, and that it was usual practice for residents to be on duty for 36-hour shifts, he was outraged. He charged that "They gave her a drug that was destined to kill her, then ignored her except to tie her down like a dog," and campaigned against the physicians, the hospital, and the system. The father also persuaded the Manhattan D.A. to convene a grand jury, and he also later initiated a civil proceeding.

The Ad Hoc Advisory Committee on Emergency Services (more commonly known as the Bell Commission) was set up to look at how residencies were conducted. After hearings, etc., the Commission recommended that residents work a maximum of 80 hours a week, and no more than 24 hours in a row, and that attending physicians be present at all times. In 1989 the state adopted these recommendations, and in 2003 In July 2003 the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education adopted similar regulations for all accredited medical training in the United States. The legacy of Libby Zion.

Libby Zion law - Wikipedia
A Life-Changing Case for Doctors in Training

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