A physician’s spouse describes some of the stresses that doctors face

July 28

Over 20 years ago, hospitals changed their relationship with physicians from partnerships to ownership. Since the change, most health-care professionals are stressed and perhaps depressed.

The vast majority of people who go into medicine do not pursue it primarily for income. They go into medicine to help people. But what many physicians experience is criticism, second-guessing and a standard of unattainable perfection. Physicians jump through hoops to achieve less-than-reasonable insurance payments, often decided by medically inexperienced liaisons. They must feel battered.

As the partner of a physician, I attend international and national gatherings of my spouse’s specialty. I always fantasize about offering group therapy sessions to the doctors who want to share, complain and even cry about how they feel. But as Pamela Wible suggested in “What does it mean when your doctor commits suicide?” [July 15], there are too many perceived hazards in discussing stress, fragile states of mind and mental health, let alone consulting with a professional.

The article’s third etiquette rule, “Compassion and empathy work wonders,” would help offset the struggles in physicians’ jobs. In all areas of our lives, we’re more apt to complain than compliment. But positive input would help increase morale and resilience.

It’s always seemed sad to me that a group of people who choose to care for others are mistreated. For that reason, Ms. Wible’s article really resonates with me.

Bekki Sims, Bethesda

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