Exhausted doctors post pictures of themselves asleep at work to highlight how tiring shifts are

A picture of a resident asleep in a hospital has sparked a debate about whether trainee doctors should be allowed to nap on the job

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The Independent US

Junior doctors and residents in hospitals are tweeting pictures of themselves asleep while at work to highlight how exhausting their long shifts can be.

The pictures are being posted with the hashtag #YoTambienMeDormi ("I've also fallen asleep") after a patient shared a picture of a resident apparently asleep on her blog.

The patient who posted the picture also criticised the junior doctor for falling asleep during a shift, writing: "We are aware that this is a tiring job but doctors are obliged to do their work. There are dozens of patients in need of attention."

The image and blog post sparked an immediate reaction from doctors across Mexico, who have tweeted #YoTambienMeDormi nearly 18,000 times in solidarity with the resident in the picture. The doctors are not angry about the lengths of their shifts as they believe this is how they will expand their medical expertise, according to the BBC. However, some have said they are not being treated as human beings.

One Mexican doctor said: "As a doctor here in Mexico, it's illegal to take a picture of a patient without their prior consent, even if it's for medical purposes. But a patient can take a photo of a doctor." He also tweeted about falling asleep after operating on a number of patients during a regular shift.

Doctors from across the world also joined in the debate over whether junior doctors should be criticised for sleeping at work.

New rules were implemented in Europe to prevent trainee doctors from working more than 48 hours a week in 2009, although individuals can choose to work more hours if they wish.  However, doctors in Latin America and elsewhere can be expected to work shifts of up to 36 hours.

The BBC reports that the resident shown in the first picture is still working at the hospital and has not faced disciplinary action.

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