Doctors Are People Too, Doctor Deaths and Suicides on the Rise

By: Dr. Kenneth Benjamin Hughes, MD
LOS ANGELES - Oct. 31, 2019 - PRLog -- Do patients, particularly the rude, unreasonable, and hostile ones, even realize that the doctors are people as well?  Doctors at one time were revered in society not only for their knowledge and professionalism but also for their healing properties. Doctors of today face Google "know-it-alls" and patient rights groups who perpetually target doctors on all forms of social media. It is no wonder that the suicide rate for doctors is the highest among all professions. Pauline Anderson wrote a recent article in May 2018 citing that one doctor commits suicide in the U.S. every day — the highest suicide rate of any profession. And the number of doctor suicides is up to 4 times that of the general population and even higher than those in the military and those with combat experience.

The path to becoming a physician is daunting, and most people have neither the intellectual ability nor the work ethic for this to be a realistic or viable career choice.  So why are society's most gifted, hardest-working people so unhappy? Most doctors do not even really enter the work force until their mid-thirties, saddled with student debt of a million dollars or more in some cases. With doctor reimbursement increasingly marginalized with managed care, most doctors remain indentured servants for the rest of their lives.

Even for those few who can make a decent living, they are burdened with online and social media reputation management, increasing paperwork and bureaucracy, and the public second-guessing their judgment and competence. It is both extremely arrogant and nonsensical to think that the most elite members of society should be so scrutinized. If becoming a doctor were easy or performing a doctor's duties were easy, then everyone would be able to do it.  Yet, medicine represents the most selective profession by far.

Patients and others should really think about this before criticizing a doctor both in person or in a public forum. Actions have consequences, and doctor suicide is real and has become an epidemic. It is not getting better either – it is getting worse statistically every year.  Doctors invest up to 30 or more years in education just to be able to enter practice. It is little wonder that when doctors finally get out into the world and discover all of the antagonism, suicide seems to be a viable option.

Death should never be an option as the best way forward in life.

Dr. Kenneth Hughes, Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
Dr. Kenneth Benjamin Hughes, Hughes Plastic Surgery
Location:Los Angeles - California - United States
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