Why Doctors Commit Suicide

It is no secret that the rate at which physicians commit suicide at higher rates than those in any other profession. Explanations by psychologists and other professionals abound. There are no answers which have settled in as conventional wisdom. You might ask why an economist would have any insight into why these tragedies occur? My work is rooted in natural law. Natural law applies to everything and its principles apply to just about everything outside of the hard sciences. 

To effectively use and rely on natural law requires being in touch with reality. If one is not in touch with reality, natural law is of no use as a tool. This state is what I call possessing the  Fantasy Free Advantage. That is living life in the light of reality.

Arm yourself with with the fantasy free advantage and all you need to do to solve problems and find answers is a little bit of basic information. I am not a psychologist. I am just using natural law to determine the most common and most probable reason so many physicians kill themselves.

Doctors may be brilliant but they are no different than anyone else in terms of how life effects them. It is foolish the expect anyone to be exempt from human nature. 

First lets ask who is it that ends up practicing medicine? Based on what I have noticed is that when young, they are highly likely to be compliant with authority. It takes that to maintain a super high GPA which is necessary to get in to high school. Not all bright people are all that compliant. There are many geniuses in the world. The more unruly among those don’t become doctors. I wonder how many rebels become doctors? I am guessing not that many.

Society has always placed the doctor identity on a pedestal. I can’t say that that practice is without merit. I think any new physician has a reasonable expectation of being highly thought of.  They spend a large part of their lives as young adults gaining their credentials. The principle of differed gratification is a big part of their lives.

I don’t know what the physician suicide rate was when a large part of medicine was free market based. My suspicion is that it was quite a bit lower than it is today. I a free market setting, a doctor has independence and make decisions free from outside influences. 

I suspect that the cause of doctor suicides is rooted in having to make deals they can’t live with in order to practice medicine. 

Lets look at some possible influences. Consider the following.s

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” Upton Sinclair

Lets look at how doctors get paid and acquire patients. in a broad sense. government does. Medicare and Medicaid patients make up a huge percentage of the supply of patients. There are virtually no cash patients. Other patients have health insurance provided by employers.

With respect to Medicare supplement plans, there is no contract, assumed or otherwise between doctors and patients. Does that matter? Yes it does. The link between doctors and patients is completely missing. The contract between doctors and insurance companies and government is direct and in place  A doctors personal essence is depends on satisfying the dictates of bureaucracies. Doing that is a doctors first order of business. Virtually all doctors one way or the other are charged with carrying out state mandated agendas whether any of those sit well with a doctors base of insight or the nature of his personal moral compass.

That is where the Upton Sinclair quote comes in.  When working for an authority, it is necessary for an individual to coordinate his own moral compass .with the moral compass of the authority which provides his essence. There are two ways to accomplish this task.  What happens when an individual is faced with a task that is in conflict with his own moral sensibilities? The most common way to get around this is for the employee to replace his moral compass with the one of his employer,while doing his job. That turns out to be the easiest and most profitable method for resolving workplace moral conflicts. It is also the most common practice where morality in the workplace overall is concerned.

Most recently, doctors across the country were directed to follow the treatments mandated to them by central authorities.  Hospital literally became death camps where only one method of treatment was allowed. Doctors are smart people. Certainly at least some could detect the sinister nature of this narrow minded approach. Surely many participated knowing how much harm they were doing to patients. Doctors go to school for many years, graduate, go through residency go to work and have no autonomy whatsoever when they are working. Who decides what treatments a doctor uses? It is a central authority. Who is better at making treatment decisions. Is it an individual authority? Is it the government?

Would having his life run this way by bureaucrats bother a doctor? I am not a doctor, so I can’t say for sure. I am a human being and that being the case, I can’t see how it wouldn’t. Would circumstances like this be overwhelming enough to cause a person to take his own life?  I would say, in most cases no. But in most cases, the majority do not commit suicide regardless. In enough cases to be highly significant, I say yes.

My conjecture is that doctors commit suicide out of proportion to society at large because they are force to make deals they can’t live with.

Do doctors commit succeed because in order to practice medicine, they must make too many deals they can’t live with?

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