Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Article Comments

Doctors “Running On Empty”

We’re stretched so thin, right now. No new hires in sight. Look at this list of patients – 22 of ‘em, all over 70, 8 “news” among them, every one with tons of medical issues. Didn’t get out of here until 10:30 last night. Then back at it at 8 (am) this morning. I’m telling you, I hate it. Hate it. There just doesn’t ever seem to be an end in sight. We’re just a bunch of f**in’ employees, and no one gives a damn.

I sat stunned. I knew him from before. His job had taken its toll. This wasn’t the guy I knew earlier. I really didn’t know how to respond, but I did suggest that maybe hospitalist medicine wasn’t for him.

I had been there once. Like a fly buzzing against a pane of glass, persistently buzzing, buzzing — unable to escape, able to see the sun on the other side of the window, but no matter how hard I buzzed against that window, I could never make it outside.

The forces against me were just too great. But it’s right there! Can’t you see it? If I just work a little harder. Hey, others can do this job, so I must just be doing something that I can fix. What can be so hard about this? Hell, I’ve got a medical degree! I’m smart enough to figure this out!

But only after the fly stopped buzzing against the window to note that there was an open door right next to him was he ever able to reach the great outdoors.

But woe to the fly that doesn’t make the change, for if he keeps buzzing against the window he’ll die.

In sixty-nine I was twenty-one and I called the road my own
I don’t know when that road turned onto the road I’m on
Running on, running on empty
Running on, running blind
Running on, running into the sun
But I’m running behind.
Jackson Browne

-WesMusings of a cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist.

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*


You may also like these posts

Read comments »


Comments are closed.

Return to article »

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

Read more »

How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

Read more »

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

See all book reviews »