A commentary on Medscape broke the “Conspiracy of Silence on Physician Suicide.” Dr. George Lundberg confirms that “Physician burnout is rampant. Physicians seeking early retirement seem epidemic. Psychiatric drug use by medical students and young physicians is rife. Enough American physicians to fill the graduating classes of two medium-sized medical schools are lost annually to suicide.” It’s evident to me that medicine has waited until the body count is so high that they finally have to pay attention to physician suicide.
Dec. 2014 I wrote a blog about “An Epidemic of Doctor Suicides” and it’s only gotten worse. However, instead of identifying the triggers that are causing doctors to commit suicide, Dr. Lundburg makes it clear that there is no preventive approach to doctor depression or doctor suicide. The drugs given to doctors, they same as they give to patients don’t seem to be helping prevent the epidemic of depression, suicide, and homicide. In my blog “Diet and Drugs are the Problem” I warned about the increase in homicides and suicides with psychiatric drugs.
Doctors have a hard time admitting that they are less than perfect. Medical school education creates a bizarre schizophrenia where we are told that we are minor deities and at the same time browbeaten and sleep deprived by overbearing clinicians. It’s a very unhealthy culture of abuse and intimidation that is then passed on to patients by doctors who even balk at the idea of letting their patients call them by their first name for fear that they will lose their authority.
Interns and residents are often made to perform procedures to which they may have moral or religious objections. I was routinely asked to “pull the plug” on a patient I had never met; I was asked to do abortions; I was asked to administer chemotherapy. I refused to do all of the above, but many young students (only in their early 20’s) assumed they couldn’t refuse and I’m sure performing those procedures under such duress stole a part of their soul and still weighs on their conscience.
Try living with that burden and then add the stress and guilt caused by patients who come back month after month getting sicker and sicker in spite of prescribing all the drugs that they were taught were supposed to help patients! I get upset when people I don’t know randomly attack me for “selling something.” I can’t imagine the horrific weight that today’s doctors are carrying with the constant complaints from patients.
All-in-all, I think it’s a lose-lose situation in medicine. I don’t think there is anything that can save it or turn it around. Medicine should be more about keeping people healthy and not waiting for disease to show up so doctors can treat it with drugs. Preventive medicine to doctors is just doing more screening tests so they can put people on drugs sooner. Like I’ve said many times before, you have to learn to take responsibility for your own health and save yourselves! You can find out how I do that by following my website blogs and my radio show.
Carolyn Dean MD ND
The Doctor of the Future®
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