Dr. Edwin Leap's editorial (EMN 2009;31:6) was very heartwarming. I have been doing emergency medicine for close to 15 years. As he stated in his lecture, I feel very angry, dissatisfied, and frustrated. I find physicians coping by working no more than 10 to 12 shifts a month.
Now there is the added burden with patient satisfaction, which I personally do not feel belongs in the treatment of emergency patients. The quality of care and the cost of care should be the main focus of hospital administrations, but many administrators focus on high patient satisfaction. In addition to EMTALA making our care worthless and free, now we have hospital administrators forcing emergency physicians to make sure these patients are happy and satisfied.
Practicing emergency medicine is becoming a job I detest. How do you cope? Is there an ideal place to work in medicine where physicians really enjoy the work that they do? Without the large compensation they are receiving, I truly believe that many physicians would not be practicing today.
Marcus Ma, MD