One ER Docs Report Of His Burnout And How It Happened

by SP

I found a very well done essay by an emergency physician giving his understanding of how his medical specialty was captured by the rise of chronic disease states and the corporate mindset and how the human aspects of medicine where crushed by this process.

What Lies Behind the Waiting Room Door

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But before we get to this sickness within our medical providers, I would like to describe the context within which we work, this so-called “healthcare system.” “Healthcare system” is a phrase that I find difficult to write, because it is an inaccurate representation of that which it intends to describe. If we take the word “healthcare” to mean the mishmash of hospitals, doctors, insurance companies, and vendors that profit from our physical and mental maladies, then perhaps we would be more accurate calling it “sickness-billing.” It is truly “sickness” that we try to solve in our current model, not “health,” and “billing” with which we spend the better portion of our time, not “care.” And if we take the word “system” to mean an organized set of things working together for a common goal, and if one has ever spent a day in a hospital, then one recognizes that the word “ataxia” better communicates the real truth of the experience. “Ataxia” literally means “without coordination” and is a medical term we use to communicate when a person can not move their body in a coordinated way. But “ataxia” is too foreign for a lay audience, so I’ll use the term “industrial complex”, with patients as our industry’s widgets.

The “sickness-billing-industrial-complex” (“SBIC”) — our healthcare system’s true identity — is an uncoordinated amalgam of special interests profiting from a series of unintended consequences of poorly designed policies.

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