Check this out. What you will see is a physician author describing physicians as going through Kubler-Ross’s five stages of grief in terms of their professional autonomy and compensation. Over the last couple of decades, doctors have increasingly been forced to cede their power, and much of their incomes, to stronger forces. Insurance companies, medical systems, etc. Early on, we saw doctors in the first stage of grief. Denial. Doctors denied that their lives were being tampered with, and they stayed silent. Mentions of physician “unions” were rebuffed.
Over subsequent years, the doctors predictably marched through the other stages of grief. So now they are where they are. Interestingly, as COVID-19 looked like it was passing off into history, doctors believed that this would be an ideal time for them to recapture their pre-grief former lives. Not so fast! Many of our citizens are facing difficult financial times as a result of the pandemic. Small businesses are struggling to stay open. AND. Many Americans are mindful that among developed countries, the US has the least cost-effective healthcare system on earth. Not a great time for doctors to be asking for more money and more autonomy.
Bottom Line. SO. Dr. Pearl is suggesting that American physicians move on to the last stage of grief. Acceptance. No, not acceptance of the fact that our healthcare, and doctors’ lives, will continue to get worse and that there is nothing to be done about that. Nope. Acceptance of the realization of what is broken, e.g., an uncoordinated fee for service system. And making the commitment to fix the problems.
Then, and only then, will physicians and patients be able to stop grieving!