Medicine needs a social revolution led by America’s doctors

Enjoy year-round sunshine with a month paid vacation. Earn 300k plus production bonus. No state tax! No call! Daily I’m bombarded with glossy postcards promising the good life.

With so many options, why are physicians fleeing medicine? Some leave for teaching, waitressing, even homemaking. Others escape into administration, insurance or pharmaceutical positions. Many simply retire in despair.

Robert Centor, MD, writes about our quiet rebellion: “This rebellion has no Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin; no Abbie Hoffman or Che Guevara. This rebellion occurs one physician at a time, as that physician finds continuing their practice undesirable.”

And the truth behind the exodus?

There can never be year-round sunshine for physicians working in an unjust health-care system. And $300,000 can never be enough to numb the pain of dedicating one’s life to a profession that has lost it’s soul. A month’s vacation can only distract us from our suffering for approximately thirty days.

Now is not the time for doctors to give up call, but to accept a call to action. Ours is a sacred obligation, a covenant with patients. America’s greatest dreams can never be delivered by politician-saviors. We are the saviors we’ve been waiting for.

Years ago, I stopped pursuing the elusive production bonus; I stepped off the treadmill to follow my heart. And I discovered to heal my patients, I had to first heal my profession. So I held town hall meetings where I invited citizens to create their ideal clinic. Celebrated since 2005, our model has sparked a populist movement: Americans are creating ideal clinics and hospitals nationwide. One hospital CEO now affectionately calls me “his MLK.”

More than a quiet rebellion, we need a non-violent social revolution led by America’s doctors. Medicine needs a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I think I’ll apply for the job.

Pamela Wible pioneered the community-designed ideal medical clinic and blogs at Ideal Medical Care.

 

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