Retired physician Dike Drummond burned out after a 10-years stretch of practicing family medicine that included more than 35,000 patient visits and the traumatic loss of an infant patient. Eventually, he just hit a wall.
“I got to a point where, over about three weeks in my practice, when I would go in it felt like somebody was putting me in chokehold. I took a month off hoping it would go away thinking my battery was just run down. My first day back it was like something had snapped. It was over. I had nothing.”
His story is not uncommon. Whether it is the rigors of the job or outside issues that compound an already stressful profession, physician burnout is a real threat to access to care. And as regulations multiply and complicate the medical workload, more and more doctors are looking at cutting hours or retiring altogether.