The Doctor Paradox
Dr Paddy Barrett - Paddy Barrett interviews Dr Eric Topol, Prof Barry Schwa
The Doctor Paradox is about addressing why despite having incredibly meaningful jobs, doctors are increasingly unhappy in their work. Quite simply, it is a tragedy that we have allowed this to happen. That intensely passionate, dynamic and altruistic individuals have lost their core passions and found themselves adrift in the world of healthcare is unacceptable. The Doctor Paradox focuses on 4 key issues: 1. The factors that explain why doctors are dissatisfied with the world of healthcare. But more importantly… 2. The physicians that have rediscovered their passions and carved new paths, both within and outside of traditional healthcare. 3. The experts who offer insight on topics related to the challenges faced and the mechanisms to address them such as sleep deprivation, burnout, career advice and philosophical perspectives. 4. The strategies to rediscover your passion, find a new course and pursue what is required to find fulfillment. A primary responsibility of physicians is to add value and meaning to our patients lives and that of our own. To fulfill only one of these criteria is not enough. Without value and meaning in our own lives it is almost impossible to provide it to that of our patients. As physicians, we hold a most privileged position. We intersect with our patients lives, often in their darkest hour, with them asking for our help. For physicians to sustainably provide that help, they must first and foremost help themselves. Not to do so will ultimately degrade one of the most sacred of relationships: that of the patient in need and the doctor who can tend to that need. The Doctor Paradox also serves to explore a ‘New Medicine’ where the traditional model of what it means to be a doctor has changed. That the doctor of the future will still be adding immense value and meaning to patients lives but may be doing so in ways not conventionally pursued before. The physicians of the future will help patients across a spectrum of care, from face to face clinical encounters to designing and developing novel technologies that will significantly impact the lives of patients. For a ‘New Medicine’ we need a ‘New Doctor’. The future of medicine is bright but unless we begin a major course correction, physicians drift toward ever increasing uncertainty. As the famous saying goes: “Things always get worse…. before they get worse”. It is up to us as physicians to effect the changes we wish to see in our own lives and in doing so, ultimately that of our patients. Things are getting worse, let’s make them better. We are ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’, so it’s not that we ought to, it’s that we have to.
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