I’m sorry: Why I lost my love for medicine


I’m sorry you are sick. I’m sorry you had to wait a long time in the waiting room. I’m sorry you haven’t gotten your pain medications. I’m sorry I don’t have an answer. I’m sorry the department is busy. I’m sorry it’s loud. I’m sorry I don’t know why it smells in here. I’m sorry your neighbor is screaming. I’m sorry you are in pain. I’m sorry you are uncomfortable. I’m sorry, but I’m really trying hard to help you.

I’m sorry I woke you up at night. I’m sorry my patient needs you. I’m sorry I can’t fix this. I’m sorry you have to come in. I’m sorry there is no other way.

I’m sorry the patient can’t just follow up in the clinic. I’m sorry you are angry at me, but you are on call. I’m sorry, but I’m really trying hard here.

I’m sorry I didn’t see that patient fast enough. I’m sorry they were unhappy with my care. I’m sorry they didn’t get their pain medications quickly enough. I’m sorry I didn’t disposition them quickly enough out of the department. I’m sorry the admitting team didn’t see them in a timely fashion. I’m sorry they didn’t get a bed quickly. I’m sorry we didn’t have enough nurses that night. I’m sorry they didn’t get to eat.

I’m sorry they didn’t get a warm blanket. I’m sorry they were held in the ER. I’m sorry I had to transfer them. I’m sorry I had to readmit them. I’m sorry I didn’t see enough patients that shift. I’m sorry my numbers were bad for that shift.

I’m sorry my metrics were terrible.

I’m sorry my Press Ganey was bad.

I’m sorry, but I am really trying hard to be a good doctor.

I’m sorry I’m sad. I’m sorry I’m anxious. I’m sorry I can’t sleep. I’m sorry I cry every night. I’m sorry I’m afraid to go to work. I’m sorry I’m afraid to see patients. I’m sorry I’m afraid of being hurt. I’m sorry I’m afraid of failing someone. I’m sorry I can’t reach out to anyone. I’m sorry I’m afraid of losing my license and career if I do. I’m sorry I can’t cut it. I’m sorry I’m weak. I’m sorry this isn’t what I signed up for. I’m sorry I’m depressed. I’m sorry that I feel hopeless. I’m sorry I’m unhappy with my career. I’m sorry I don’t love it anymore.

I’m sorry I didn’t take care of myself. I’m sorry it took me this long to realize. I’m sorry, but this isn’t because I’m weak. I’m sorry the system is broken. I’m sorry every day a doctor dies. I’m sorry that they didn’t get the help they needed. I’m sorry that the system blames them. I’m sorry that you didn’t help them. I’m sorry, but I’m not going to go down this path. I’m sorry, but I refuse to become a statistic.

I’m sorry, but this is what burnout looks like. I’m sorry it isn’t all my fault. I’m sorry I’m going to go get help. I’m sorry if you feel like firing me because of that. I’m sorry if you are going to take my license away. I’m sorry, but I can’t sit by anymore.

I’m sorry, but I have to walk away from my dream.

I’m sorry.

The author is an anonymous physician.

.Image credit: Shutterstock.com


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