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On Being a Doctor |

Trying to Save a Health Care System: Colombian Residents Go on StrikeTrying to Save a Health Care System

Sarah R. Gottfried, MD, MPH
[+] Article, Author, and Disclosure Information

From Yale New Haven Hospital, New Haven, Connecticut.

Requests for Single Reprints: Sarah R. Gottfried, MD, MPH, Everett Family Health Center, Cambridge Health Alliance, 391 Broadway, Suite 204, Everett, MA 02149; e-mail, sgottfried@gmail.com.

Ann Intern Med. 2014;161(3):228-229. doi:10.7326/M14-0203
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We had just finished rounds at the Hospital Universitario del Valle in Cali, Colombia. To my surprise, the resident turned to me and said, “I have to go now—the strike is beginning.”





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Posted on August 11, 2014
Mort Rubinstein, MD
Conflict of Interest: None Declared
Dr Gottfried's moving essay described a Colombian doctor's strike, which strove to save a health care system. In contrast, she mentions that United States job actions by doctors protested "working conditions and pay". As a past vice-president of the Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR) house staff union, our 24-hour work stoppage on January 17, 1979 successfully focused attention on deterioration in New York City hospital conditions following steady cutbacks in municipal hospitals during the late 1970s. We were able to forestall plans to close or further diminish the city's municipal hospital system. Clearly, the idealistic physician trainee can and has been able to achieve positive change in the health care system, internationally.
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