The Dangerous Side Effects Of Physician Burnout

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By Patrick Wagner, MD

It should be clear based on the lack of civility in present day America that something has to give.  Doctors, like all other citizens, have a breakpoint, and that breakpoint has long since been passed.  To put it bluntly, doctors have given up.

To become a doctor is a huge endeavor, recognizable only by those who have made it.  One of the most important objectives of a doctor is to understand how to diagnose disease and treat it effectively.  Another tremendously important objective and characteristic of a doctor is to provide empathetic and excellent care for those who put their trust in them and to treat colleagues with the same type of respect they show their patients.  It is paramount to have a united force against disease. 

Yet another vitally important characteristic that doctors inherently lack and need is common sense when it comes to business and proper management of successful business.  Doctors lack the discernment to recognize a crook.  Their nature is to nurture everyone.  It is part of the personality, and it is sincere.  It is a vulnerability which has been exploited.   

With these above characteristics, when everything is going well there is no higher calling.  When things aren’t going well, the reverse is true.  Sadly, something happened to medicine that took the wind out of the sail of every physician in America. 

In an earlier time, a doctor partnered with a patient in order to meet the desired goal of removing illness.  But that all changed when it was decided that a better partner for both doctor and patient should take over and the curse of healthcare and healthcare insurance became much more valuable to the average American citizen.  Safer, more affordable, convenient, comforting, compassionate and high quality healthcare delivery was the promise, or pitch.

Healthcare plans flourished, new administrators of price, benefits and kindness burgeoned.  This became popular and very convenient for labor and labor unions, who lobbied the government for massive group “healthcare insurance policies”.   The government provided senior citizens the same type of work benefit insurance in the name of Medicare.

Add to the healthcare mantra the notion of government controlled and administered public health agencies.  That covers just about everybody in America.   Why did the government do it?  They did it because they could get away with it.  The reason government invaded private practice medicine is very easy to understand.  It’s purely about power.   But because of the very slow speed and determined clandestine invasion, it went undetected.

Growing government is way out of line.  In a free enterprise economy, the citizens of the nation own the means of production.  In a communist dictatorship, the state owns the means of production.  A tame government recognizes its boundaries, a tyrannical government does not.  The possibilities are endless if government owns doctors and medicine, but what happens to quality and cost?   You have to admit that our current unusual circumstances are beginning to get our attention!

Having been through all of the above and having survived it, I’ve taken on the huge challenge of revealing what happened to the doctor over the last couple of decades, and how to right a terrible wrong.  It is an obligation of vital importance, and all doctors must speak up about the atrocities and help!   Medical science fiction has supplanted medical scientific method!

Recently, I looked up the Wikipedia definition of crab mentality and found from it an astonishing similarity to physician mentality.  To paraphrase…..”When a crab is caught, the crabber throws it in a pot.  The crab will try to escape.  Catch another one or two and the crabs will undermine each other ensuring the group’s collective demise.  ‘If I can’t be free, neither can you!’  And anyone standing out will be singled out to reduce self-confidence.  It becomes a collective attitude of resentment, envy, spite, competitive feelings and conspiracy”.  Those, my friends, are the dangerous side effects of physician burnout.

Caught doctors lack morals.  They do not care about patients anymore.  They care about doing the least amount of work to get by and retire.  They simply follow orders and avoid detection in order to get through it all.

No one speaks of the oppressive conditions that doctors work under, so I will.  They are not paid adequately.  They are forced to make decisions about patients that are unsafe and unethical.  They think it’s what the patients want and yet they cannot deceive their consciences.  Rationing of medical help in this healthcare culture is the rule.  In essence, doctors are the scapegoats of the tyrannical monsters administering the curse of healthcare and public healthcare agencies.

Burnout is the poison that has infected the soul of the American physician and it is a hopeless lethal condition if untreated.  Why did it happen?  It happened because the citizenry of America voted for it.  It’s true!  Everybody is to blame.  Nobody is innocent.  Healthcare “cure” is medical “curse”, and doctors and patients curse each other and fail to recognize they are killing their own and each other’s souls.  

Illegal, inhumane government has infiltrated our hospitals.  It has infiltrated our schools.  It has infiltrated our work force.  It has infiltrated our churches.  It has infiltrated all of our businesses.  It has infiltrated our civility itself.  That is very sick.  The true pathogen infects us, meanwhile watching us kill each other.  It’s been going on for a long time, and it’s been working well for the pathetic crabbers.

It’s time to ask yourself a few questions.  Do I want to continue to live this way?  Do I want to hand off this mess to my kids?  Am I going to remain a victim of my frightening circumstances, or am I going to become a victor over them?  Am I going to take charge of my health by surrendering myself into the hands of the Great Physician “Whose will be done”, which is to purge the system and expunge this evil?  If you want results you have to ask Him.  He promises to help us. Let’s also help our one of a kind president make America great again by choosing to make medicine great again.  I think it will readily revise, restore and revive every aspect of our lives.  It is time to experiment with resolve. 

Let’s get to work and make it happen.  After all, disappointments along the way are inevitable, but discouragement is a choice.