The last time I saw my neurologist he commented that practicing medicine was becoming more and more of a burden, and that doctors were more commonly urging their children not to enter the medical field. He said that since the passage of “health care reform” he not only had to answer to insurance companies for his decisions in treating patients, but that now he was having to answer in a similar manner to the government as well.
“I am,” he told me, “spending more time justifying my treatment decisions to oversight agencies than I am in actually treating patients.” He was not angry, he just looked discouraged.
This week I received a letter from him informing his patients that he was leaving the practice and that another neurologist would be taking over our care. He said that he was leaving the hospital as well, and that his future plans were undecided. The website for the neurological office says that he has “retired.” (He is in his mid forties.)
That is a real loss, because he is a very fine doctor and enjoyed a reputation as one of the finest practitioners of the treatment of movement disorders in the western United States. I will miss him, as will all of his patients.