73 miles per hour

Study: The Average Doctor Moves at 73 Miles Per Hour

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BOSTON, MA – A new study published in the New England Journal of Things Involving Feet has found that the average physician in modern medicine moves at a brisk rate of 73 miles per hour (mph), assuming it is not a windy day in the hospital.

The inspiration behind the study was the result of circumstance.  Principal investigator, Dr. Devon Gait-Powers, was sitting when a flash of blue whizzed by him, whipping him with a fierce wind.  He initially thought it was a speeding police car until he realized he was indoors in the hospital cafeteria.

“I looked closer and realized it was a rounding surgical resident who blew right past me,” Gait-Powers observed.  “I knew I had something.”

Gait-Powers observed and tested 200 physicians, ranging from interns to attendings, encompassing all subspecialties.  Radiologists were excluded because of their 100% sit rate.  The study found that the average walking speed was 73 miles per hour.  Attendings had the slowest gait of 0.001 mph, not an unexpected finding.  The fastest physicians were interns and residents, with most of their speed attributed to coffee, to-do lists, perpetually running late, debt, and fear.

The highest speed recorded was an intern who overslept and was late to morning rounds; he was clocked in an impressive 94 mph.  The second highest recorded speed was 93.6 mph, that from a July 1st intern hearing a code called overhead on his patient.

Though doctors were found to have hypertrophied lower extremities, in particular calves and feet, they were also prone to the worst foot injuries.  The sheer numbers of rounding interns who unknowingly have broken bones sticking out of their feet is astounding.  “The great irony,” Gait-Powers noted, “is that none of their peers were moving slow enough to notice, let alone stop and point it out.”

Gait-Powers is still pouring through the data, but he wonders if the day might come where hospital hallways will need speed limits.  “Could you imagine the speed of two stressed out interns in a head-on collision?  The ACGME [Accreditation Counsel for Graduate Medical Education] really needs to look into that.”

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