Letter to the Editor
Letters to the Editor
Emergency Medicine News welcomes letters to the editor about any subject related to emergency medicine. Please limit your letter to 250 words, and include your full name, credentials, and city and state of residence or practice.
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Dr. Alex Mohseni's article about the caustic environment we work in sounded all too familiar to me. (“Why I Quit Emergency Medicine,” EMN 2018;40:1; http://bit.ly/2Pc0ktQ.)
After 26 years in the trenches, I know the feeling of dread mixed with anxiety that begins before a shift in the ED. It is the product of a work environment that fails to recognize that constant stress, alternating circadian rhythms, endless paperwork, and bogus rules we have to follow take a tremendous toll on one's sense of well-being. Instead of focusing on keeping physicians healthy so we can do the same for our patients, the prevailing attitude is that that person can't handle it, so he needs to go. No wonder physicians are dropping out in droves. We are, as Dr. Mohseni so accurately stated, “chewed up and spit out” when we become so damaged that we can no longer function.
The health care system refuses to recognize that it is its own worst enemy, and it is destroying the very profession that allows it to survive. The root cause of this problem is the work environment, not physicians. Nothing will change until that is recognized and dealt with. Luckily, I am near the end of my professional career, but I worry about the future of our profession. Some movement has been made on this issue lately as we come to grips with burnout, but these initiatives have yet to trickle down to the vast majority of EDs.
James Lapkoff, MD