This Is Why We Are Quitting


This came from a piece in Time Magazine by a Danielle Ofri, MD:

Last week I was ready to quit medicine. I was seeing a new patient with diabetes, heart disease, anemia, hypertension, osteopenia, hypothyroidism, reflux, depression and pain in every part of her body. From a bag she produced 18 pill bottles — from about as many doctors — and piled them onto my desk. She pulled out a form from her job that needed to be filled out, plus a prior-approval form that her insurance company required, as well as a stack of photocopied records from the other doctors. She didn’t speak English, so we waded through her complicated medical history via a telephone interpreter. I don’t like to write while I am talking with a patient, but I couldn’t afford to fall behind in my documentation, so I typed madly into the 50 required fields of our electronic medical record while the patient recounted her complex medical history.

I recommend you read the piece about disillusioned doctors but that case above is so unrevealing that is revealing.   In other words, I didn’t even blink when I saw that scenario.  Why?  Because I see so many like it every day.   The article gives no answers to fix this issue but I believe there is one.  We need to stop accepting the insurance mandates as dogma.  We need to stop the volume of patients that we see now.  We need to stop using complicated EHRs which are only complicated in order to make the government or insurers happy.  We do not need to accept this!  How do we do this?  Ask Josh at

Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  3 comments for “This Is Why We Are Quitting

  1. Pat
    January 2, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    “However, the fact that we’d plowed through the morass together, however agonizingly, seemed to provide common ground. We smiled wearily at each other, but our parting handshake was solid. We were now in this together.”

    This was the saddest part of the piece, the author’s apparent acceptance of myriad external obligations as the basis for a doctor-patient relationship.

    People largely entered this profession because they believed it would be, in the most serious sense, fun. It’s not.

  2. Randy B
    January 1, 2014 at 9:48 am

    I wanted to ask if there was a way to put in the records the behaviors and maybe a code for those with the potential for drug seeking or disability seeking patients? Would this help?

  3. R Watkins
    December 30, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    Ofri sees the most obvious problems, but seems pretty clueless about any type of solution. She correctly describes the bad working conditions, but the solution is to shovel more young female physicians into those working conditions? I think not.

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