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The Practice Of Medicine Is Becoming Less Enjoyable

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

I think everyone got Dr. Mark Sklar’s message in "Doctoring in the Age of ObamaCare" If anyone did not get his message I suggest you read his article again.

The practice of medicine is becoming more difficult for all the reasons Dr. Sklar outlined. It has become difficult because of Obamacare’s new rules and regulations.    

Nine of ten practicing physicians discourage their children and others from going into medicine.

Increasing numbers of practicing physicians are depressed. Three to four hundred physicians will commit suicide this year. Many physicians are retiring early.       

“Simply put, being a doctor has become a miserable and humiliating undertaking. Indeed, many doctors feel that America has declared war on physicians—and both physicians and patients are the losers.”

The medical profession has lost status in the eyes of the public in the last 50 years.

Physicians were the pillars of any community. If you were smart and sincere and ambitious, at the top of your class, there was nothing nobler or more rewarding that you could aspire to become.

Medicine has become just another profession. Physicians have become insecure, discontented and anxious about the future of medicine. Obamacare has intensified that insecurity.

In surveys and articles that appear in many newspapers and online blogs the majority of physicians express diminished enthusiasm for medicine.  

“American doctors are suffering from a collective malaise. We strove, made sacrifices—and for what? For many of us, the job has become only that—a job.”

Many physicians young and old are looking for an exit strategy. Many medical students go into higher-paying specialties such as radiology and anesthesiology so they can retire as quickly as possible.

  • “Non-primary care doctors earn on average 65% more, or $116,000 more each year, than do primary care doctors (pediatricians, family medicine doctors and internal medicine doctors).”
  • Physician MBA programs permit physicians to leave their practice and go into management. These physician executive programs are flourishing.

         The Drop-Out-Club, which hooks doctors up with jobs at hedge funds and venture capital firms are also growing.

Patients need contented physicians. They do not need discontented or depressed physicians. They do not need physicians who are compelled to practice defensive medicine in order to avoid malpractice suits.

They do not need a government that relies on healthcare policy advisors with no experience in the practice of medicine to create policies. The healthcare policy advisors try to shift control from individual consumers to the government and the healthcare insurance industry.

These physicians’ feelings are stated thousands of times by physicians in the pits. No one is interested in listening because the media is the message.

Politicians and the healthcare industry have employed a methodical campaign to devalue physicians and physicians’ medical care in order to control the healthcare system.

The traditional mainstream media keeps on reporting that physicians are money grubbing crooks who do not care for patients. The traditional mainstream media believes that information technology is the key to straightening out our dysfunctional healthcare system.

The government and the traditional mainstream media are feeding consumers nonsense. 

Has anyone ever experienced an efficiently run government agency?

The government is inefficient. It is being taken advantage by the healthcare insurance industry and hospital systems at taxpayers’ expenses while adding little value to the medical care system. 

 Consider what one doctor had to say on Sermo, the online community of more than 270,000 physicians:

"I wouldn't do it again, and it has nothing to do with the money.

I get too little respect from patients, physician colleagues, and administrators, despite good clinical judgment, hard work, and compassion for my patients.

Working up patients in the ER these days involves shotguning multiple unnecessary tests (everybody gets a CT!) despite the fact that we know they don't need them, and being aware of the wastefulness of it all really sucks the love out of what you do.

I could have made my living and been more fulfilled.

The sad part is we chose medicine because we thought it was worthwhile and noble, but from what I have seen in my short career, it is a charade."

Consumer recognition of this physician’s discontent is new. Physicians have been pointing it out for years.

 The medical profession has not had an effective voice to make this discontent clear.

Consumers of healthcare are starting to listen because it is affecting them directly and they do not like it.

Maybe a consumer driven protest will occur in order to get legislation passed to restore the patient physician relationship.

The opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” are, mine and mine alone.  

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