ER Doctors: 3 Priorities for Self Preservation…………

The three priorities in order of importance in practicing medicine: (1) Don’t get sued, (2) Make Money and (3) Take Care of Patients…………………………..

Alex Lickerman, MD Founder and CEO of ImagineMD ☤ Author/Speaker ☤ Entrepreneur

Just talked to an ER doc friend of mine. You know what he told me? He has 3 priorities in practicing ER medicine. In order of priority to him:

1) Don’t get sued,

2) Make money,

3) Take care of patients.

The system has totally burned him out (hence the reason making money has risen to second priority).

He estimates 90% of all the tests he orders and hospital admissions he puts in are unnecessary. Why does he do it? Two reasons: he doesn’t want to get sued and he doesn’t want to get fired (patient satisfaction surveys are a constant looming threat).

All his chart documentation is designed to protect him from getting sued. When patients ask for antibiotics or CT scans he knows they don’t need, 90% of the time his answer is, “Sure.” He has neither the time to explain why they don’t need these things, nor the preexisting relationship (and hence rapport) with the patient to expect them to trust him.

When occasionally he does try, he gets punished by a patient lodging a complaint against him. He experiences learned helplessness every single shift. Occasionally he actually helps someone and feels good about it, but this is the exception rather than the rule.

He tells me every ER doctor’s experience is like this. WE MUST CHANGE OUR HEALTHCARE SYSTEM NOW.