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March 1996

The Postcall Syndrome

Author Affiliations

Department of Pediatrics Harborview Medical Center (359774) Seattle, WA 98104

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1996;150(3):329. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1996.02170280099021

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A constant challenge for physicians is trying to stay abreast of new or newly described diseases such as Lyme disease and Hantavirus infection. Another entity destined for inclusion in the next edition of the International Classification of Diseases has emerged in the past decade. It is called the postcall syndrome.

Amazingly, the disease seems to afflict a very select population, residents in US teaching hospitals. The clinical picture is that of a young adult with sagging posture, a sad face, slow speech, emanating periodic moans and groans. The symptoms invariably start in the morning after a resident has been on call. Although there is often an association with little or no sleep, the effects, curiously enough, can still be claimed merely by being listed on the night-call schedule.

Considerable secondary gain accrues to the victim. The very mention of "I'm postcall," elicits sympathetic clucks from peers and bestows a license

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