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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Is Your Doctor Stressed Out?

As an activist it was great seeing medical students and doctors stand up, protest and demonstrate for black lives... I'm talking doctors of all racial backgrounds. The organization "White Coats 4 Black Lives" has truly been a God send.

After seeing such activism from medical students and doctors it got me to thinking about their lives and their profession. Many people think when someone graduates med school and receive a Medical Doctor's degree that they i.e. the recipients of such degrees are automatically making hundreds of thousands of dollars. Wrong!
The general public has no clue about Residency which depending on the specialty can be a (3 - 7) year process where someone with a Medical Doctor's degree starts out making roughly 30K a year. Can you imagine having a Medical Doctor's degree and making 30K a year for the next three to seven years of your life? Well, that's what Resident Doctors have to endure before they can make the big bucks.

Residency is a huge sacrifice for most doctors. They work 75+ hours a week, are paid less than a warehouse worker, work 24 HOUR SHIFTS sometimes twice a week, and are to tired to read and educate themselves.

It's hard for Attendings as well, as many of them work 24 HOUR SHIFTS. Yes, Resident Medical Doctors and Attendings work 24 HOUR SHIFTS sometimes twice a week. Whoa!

Most Resident Doctors are clinically depressed because of their strenuous workloads. Remember, medical doctors don't have a union so who can they really complain to? For African American student doctors and residents the experience is worse!
Medical school often erodes aspiring doctors' empathy, compassion, and idealism.

"Typically, students enter medical school idealistic, eager to improve the human condition, and excited about becoming doctors. And then we do various things to change them". Richard Schwartzstein, MD Harvard Medical School.

" Most medical students, resident doctors, and attendings are brunt out, tired, under appreciated, and disgruntled from working 24 HOUR SHIFTS sometimes twice a week, being made to feel stupid and inferior by senior doctors, and if you're female being paid less for doing the same work as your male counterparts...this ultimately has a direct and indirect affect on patient care!" 

What are some of the things Dr. Schwartzstein is talking about? If I can add a little insight I'd have to say medical students and resident medical doctors often have their self esteem torn down! They are treated with no respect among faculty or attendings in the field.

Please understand a Resident Doctor is someone who has graduated medical school and is working in a Residency Program at a hospital. Resident Doctors work under Supervisory Doctors called Attendings.

Oftentimes, Resident Doctors are the first doctors a patient will encounter when s(he) goes to the emergency room, clinic, etc. So imagine you were in a car accident or lil Ray-ray was shot and taken to the hospital, yes, Resident Doctors will be the first ones to see you or lil Ray-ray! Resident Doctors are extremely skilled yet stigmatized by patients and under appreciated by senior doctors and Attendings.

However, if a Resident Doctor is burnt out, disgruntled, treated like crap by senior doctors, working 24 HOUR SHIFTS sometimes twice a week, receiving low wages...that type of low morale is going to have an effect on patient's care!

Please click below link. It's about a doctor who no longer wants to be a doctor. A must read!
https://forum.facmedicine.com/threads/im-sorry-i-cant-face-being-a-doctor-any-more.24031/

And then we have the treatment of African American female medical students and doctors. Yes, they suffer the most! African American female doctors only make up 2% of medical doctors in the United States of America.
"Again and again during my four years of training, I encountered racism and ignorance, directed either at patients or at me and other students of color..." "...How can medical professionals address the needs of a rapidly diversifying population, when we cannot address prejudice within our own community?" Jennifer Adaeze University of Virginia School of Medicine.

Please check the below link out:
https://www.statnews.com/2016/04/11/racism-medical-education/

There is much prejudice in the medical community. Even some senior medical doctors have been recorded saying racist things about patients before and during surgery, just ask Ether Easter a 44 year old woman who secretly recorded doctors performing her surgery making racist remarks about her.

Racism is prevalent in the medical profession and should not be tolerated under any circumstances! Here's a quote from some recent research from the University of Virginia "A substantial number of white laypeople and medical students and residents hold false beliefs about biological differences between blacks and whites, and demonstrates that these beliefs predict racial bias in pain perception and treatment recommendation accuracy". Kelly M. Hoffman, a sixth-year doctoral candidate  (ABD) Social Psychology Program, University of Virginia.

In short, there are some white laypeople, medical students and resident doctors who believe black folks can tolerate more pain than white folks. This belief was also taught during slavery of African Americans...a doctrine that teaches African Americans are less human than whites, therefore can take more pain. The fact we have people in the medical field believing such nonsense in 2016 is extremely troubling.

So while I celebrate the activism of "White Coats 4 Black Lives" I also humbly ask they reform their community as well. I ask they develop programs for resident doctors who feel like giving up. I ask they develop conduits for student and resident doctors to speak their minds and not be afraid of being vilified. I humbly ask they push for more wages for resident doctors.

I humbly ask all African American female Medical Students, Resident Doctors and Attendings to form real bonds of support seeing that only 2% of America's doctors are African American women.

At the end of the day it's about patient care! Yes, we can have a rigours program but racism, low wages, ungodly 24 HOUR SHIFTS, etc., must be addressed!

...Would you want a doctor operating on you and s(he) has been at work for 24 hours?! Not me! It's time to ban doctors' from working 24 HOUR SHIFTS! 

The world looks to our doctors' to heal us, but how can they heal us in a mentally, physically and spiritually broken state? At some point Medical Doctors may have to consider forming a Union for Resident Doctors and Attendings. If Police and Teachers can have a Union so should Medical Doctors. Either form a Union or reform the medical community...or do both!

Lastly, I've spoken with medical students and resident medical doctors throughout the Country...something must be done ASAP! This is a public health crisis we can't afford to misdiagnose! Tha Movement University will continue to support Medical Students and Resident Doctors. We will remain their voice!

Pastor Jim Allen,
Vineyard Chicago
and President of
Washtenaw Park Advisory Council
Twitter: @JimAllenLive 
jm.allen284@gmail.com