SAN DIEGO, CA – In an unfortunate event last month Dr. Emmert Gencey, a new 29-year-old ER doc, became lost in the space-time continuum for about a week after he switched from day shift to night shift to swing shift and then back to day shift on 4 consecutive days. It is a well-known fact that a large portion of the burnout experienced in emergency medicine is due to irregularities in shift schedules, and Dr. Gencey was an unfortunate victim in this case.
“The last memory I recall that seems real was walking out of the hospital after my last day shift on that 4th day,” Gencey reported, “After that, things got weird.”
Gencey says he began hallucinating and started to experience strange things in a dream-like state. For example, he claims to have ‘experienced’ a whole hospital of dermatologists working on a weekend. He also witnessed orthopedic surgeons managing their patients’ medical problems independently without calling a single medicine consult. Despite these strange experiences, he says he really knew it wasn’t real life when he saw a vision of a neurosurgeon home eating dinner with his family.
“It’s my own fault,” Gencey said, “I should have never agreed to pick up my partner’s extra shift. It was just too much. We have safeguards in place to prevent this type of thing.”
Gencey’s partners reported that they could tell something was a little off, but they just thought he was tired after all of the work.
“I’m actually surprised he made it that long,” one of his partners said, “We have always been warned of this type of thing, but never actually seen it happen. We are just glad he’s ok and didn’t get permanently stuck in The Twilight Zone”.
Fortunately, Gencey snapped out of it without any real signs of long-term effects (other than the pit in his stomach each time he realizes he still has 30 years of this). He plans to return to work later this week.