I recently read the article “Why I'm Leaving Emergency Medicine.” (EMN. 2022;44:1; https://bit.ly/3NoiZS2.) This letter is not to diminish what must have been an incredibly difficult decision for this EP. Facing such a choice after practicing 10 years and another decade of higher education and training is an unfortunate situation no physician should experience.
The author spoke of hospitals' shameless plunge toward profit-obsessed business models, EDs inundated with endless well-check visits, school notes, and sniffles at the expense of higher-acuity patients lost in the throng, EP market dilution from newer, substandard residencies, and independently practicing nonphysician providers.
Although I am only a second-year emergency medicine resident, I am painfully aware of such trends. Yet I'm comforted knowing emergency medicine is not the same today as it will be tomorrow. The past century saw two world wars, penicillin's discovery and resistance, and HIV. Now we face a crumbling health care system, COVID-19, and the overturning of Roe v. Wade. All bleak outlooks, all overcome or destined to be.
My message is simple: Please don't throw in the towel. Every generation contends with its own hardships. As the newest EPs, we need our mentors to stay and fight with us, tell us the way things used to be, and explain emergency medicine's troubles and steer us toward a better tomorrow. I humbly ask you to stay for your patients, your love of your work, and for those of us who look to you for guidance.
Robert C.F. Pena, MD