Residents, or resident physicians, are young physicians who are completing their training by working, under the supervision of other physicians, very long hours for several years in a teaching hospital.Â Concern is routinely raisedÂ regardingÂ being treated by physicians who are still learning,Â and might be exhaustedÂ and perhaps making poor judgments. Â Two current medical residents debate the issue.
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The surgeon Atal Gawande asks, "What should medicine do when it canâ€™t save your life?" In the U.S., terminally ill patients are most often given aggressive cure-at-all-costs treatment rather than palliative, or comfort care. But while patients live about the same amount of time whichever choice is made, for aggressive treatment the quality-of-life is much lower, and the economic costs are enormously higher. Gawande suggests that, for terminally ill patients, by changing the focus of their care to quality-of-life rather than aggressive treatment, the economic problem itself will be significantly lessened as a result.