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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*

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