How Doctors Celebrate Independence Day: They Don’t

Article

How can medical professionals declare their independence?

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COMMENTARY

It is July 4th! Time to celebrate freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Independence Day is a national holiday, so most Americans get the day off work—often a 3-day weekend! Family and friends gather to enjoy potato salad, apple pie, picnics, and parades—while physicians deal with fireworks mishaps and car wrecks. Some drown in documentation.

I know too many doctors who collapse in bed each night atop their electronic medical records. In their pajamas. On weekends. Even on holidays!

The truth is American medicine has little to do with liberation or independence. The Fourth of July is just another day of captivity for most American physicians—and nearly all medical trainees.

Once upon a time, all US doctors were independent. My parents were both solo docs like me. Now most physicians are salaried factory workers practicing assembly-line medicine.

In fact, 9 out of 10 doctors would not recommend medicine as a profession. Why? Here are a few factoids:

  • Pages of Medicare regulations by which physicians must abide: >132,000
  • Current number of procedural codes doctors must know: 10,969
  • Number of ICD-10 codes doctors are responsible for: 152,135
  • Average minutes allotted per patient appointment: 15
  • Average minutes per appointment doctor is on computer: >16
  • Seconds before doctor interrupts patient: 11
  • Hours per day doctors require to deliver recommended care to patients: 26.7
  • Physicians who fear seeking mental health care due to career repercussions: 42
  • Number of US state medical boards that punish competent physicians with mental health struggles: > 25
  • Number of Americans who will lose their doctors to suicide this year: > 1,000,000

In the land of live free or die, some choose death. I considered it. Until I decided to live free as a solo doc.

Join me this July 4th to declare your independence.

Dr Wible is a freedom-loving physician who liberates discouraged doctors at IdealMedicalCare.org.


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