Is moral distress preventing doctors and nurses from providing good patient care?

Doctors and nurses are increasingly unable to provide appropriate patient care as they care caught between the demands of administrators, insurance companies, and even patients’ families.

Surgeon Pauline Chen writes about the phenomenon in her latest column in the NY Times, where she describes cases where medical providers are unable to do what is ethically right.

The interests of the medical staff conflict with those of insurance companies and hospital administrators, and often times, patients end up the ultimate losers of such situations.

As Dr. Chen writes, “It is profoundly disheartening to haggle with disembodied voices over the phone over insurance approval for operations to remove cancers, to struggle to do everything that should be done for the rising numbers of patients a single doctor must see, and to follow the wishes of estranged relatives who swoop into the hospital during the last days of life and demand aggressive treatment.”

Well said.

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