How To Kill a Doctor

flying cadeuciiIt’s really quite easy to kill a doctor. Here’s a step-by-step process guaranteed to succeed at least 400 times a year:

Start early.

Be sure to denigrate medical students whenever possible. Even if they’ve come to the profession later in life and have accomplished all kinds of amazing things personally and professionally (which don’t count, of course, since those are other professions) they don’t know squat about medicine and you do. Make sure to emphasize their ignorance and inexperience at every turn, because it’s the only way to prove that you know more than they do, which of course means that you’re a better person than they are. The fact that as a group they’re all at the very top of their peer group in motivation and intelligence is irrelevant.

Tell them they’re lazy when they say they’re tired after being up for 36 hours (since they’re not residents, they don’t have work hour restrictions). Tell them they smell of formaldehyde from the anatomy lab and make amusing gagging noises whenever you see them. If all else fails and they are actually able to competently work up a patient, plus answer the most esoteric questions you can think of, impugn their sexuality or tell them they dress weird. Don’t worry about being judgmental; patients are the only ones deserving of your respect. And other doctors, of course; well, the ones ahead of you in training at any rate. But only in your own specialty.

Don’t let up once they graduate from medical school.

The first year of residency training is a great time to kill doctors. They’re foundering around desperately trying to figure out how to function in their new roles. Most of them are also drowning in debt and watching as their non-medical friends (if they still have any) get married, buy houses, and have kids; you know, have lives. Yell at them for everything that goes wrong with their patients, whether it was their fault or not. Tell them it builds character.

Hospital administrators have an important role.

Make sure the physicians you hire understand how important it is that they show up for their shifts, but don’t give them any input into the schedule. Ignore their scheduling requests, but tell them they were lost; better yet, imply that they were never sent. Same with messages, committee meetings, and other administrative responsibilities. Make sure there are enough of these to make it impossible for doctors to take care of the patients. Otherwise the patients may actually think it was the doctors, and not your wonderful hospital (or hospital system) responsible for their recoveries.

If you’re not a particularly affluent institution, make sure that the food, decor, and customer service at your institution is as bare-bones as you can, but lump everything under “Medical care” in your patient satisfaction questionnaires so the doctors get blamed. Then tie their payments to those satisfaction scores. Win-win, for you.

Be sure to switch up your EMR annually at least, but call it “Upgrading” and label any doctors who complain as “disruptive.” It helps if the main hospital, Emergency department, and Radiology departments all run separate systems that don’t interact. Make sure each system requires different passwords, and require that they be changed at different intervals. Forbid physicians to write them down. Security, you know.

Don’t stop once you’re in practice.

Pick on your younger colleagues for their inexperience. Whatever you do, never tell them they’re doing a good job. Stick them with as much holiday and weekend call as you can. After all, you’ve paid your dues; now it’s their turn. (Tell them that.) Don’t listen to your older colleagues either. They’re just old farts whose knowledge is waning. Who cares about their decades of experience? Just tune them out when they start talking to you, then nod condescendingly and walk away.

Practice that condescending look and use it at hospital staff events. Make it a point to ignore newcomers. Concentrate on talking just with your friends and laughing at inside jokes, especially when others are around. Don’t return their calls, and don’t take their calls if you can possibly help it. If you accidentally wind up on the phone with the patient’s primary physician, just tell them you’ve got it all under control, and that he (and the patient) are so lucky you got involved when you did.

Target your efforts.

None of the above actions in and of themselves is likely to drive a doctor to suicide. However if you manage to select individuals with a personal or family history of depression, those with poor social supports or self esteem issues, you can greatly increase your chances of killing a doctor. Concentrating on certain specialties where there may be easier access to more lethal means, like anesthesiology and surgery, may also raise your yield. Don’t despair, though. Intensively applying all the strategies above and more (you know what to do; much of it has been done to you over the years, and may still be occurring as we speak) to doctors in any specialty represent proven ways to kill them.

Now you know how to kill a doctor.

It’s really not that hard. The question is: Why would you want to?

Lucy Hornstein, MD is a contributing blogger for THCB. She blogs regularly at Musings of a Dinosaur, where this post first appeared.

11 replies »

  1. “watching as their non-medical friends (if they still have any) get married, buy houses, and have kids; you know, have lives” is especially ironic considering you get paid to disable people. imagine how little of a life your bedridden patients on the verge of suicide have, if you can muster up a grain of empathy. we’re fighting back soon, be ready 🙂

  2. When doctors fails, and don’t “compute” as they should, are they really worth their own time? University and all of that? Are they worth a real doctor? If he’s hiding behind a screen to fake his job, is he still a doctor?

    If a yes arose in these thought, why nerds who compute greatly and actually are smart cannot be doctors?

    Oh yeah, there’s an incentive in form of money, and if any real person could help someone it would reverse this increase and therefore produce less meatbag in lapels some call doctors.

    Doctor which who make more prescriptions than days of practice. if you didn’t knew about one of the quickest way to induce in this funny joke that might becomes every Thursday, the best way to kill a doctor is, in 2022, believe him blindly.

    as long as his way of treating don’t go too “non-union” someone will eventually come for his drugs and at the strike of a conscience that happens around 35, that doctor is gonna get slipped a cut. Because he didn’t do compute in drug dealing. Forget about the human anatomy, or the psychological effect of them pills. Imo that one isn’t so undeserved.

    Docs judge docs on docs mistake made by docs for doc by docs., see? Ultimately they will only be their own mistake, and their miserable vile and dishonest lives are such a small price to pay for shitty doctors. (Talking about drugs here, I’m cruel and bitter, but I’m not a monster)

    I’d rather have a high school student who’s been called to be a medic by shear desire to know and help, and the possibility that he/she could join the forces on time, but who am I kidding. Giving kids the world so that they don’t feel betrayed and kill themselves, am I crazy? “No sir, if they don’t have the incentive to make the dough they might help everyone, and doing so would cut our profit margins.”

    Doctors killing themselves at 400 a year? Please! We’d need at least a thousand a year to make it possible to wake up. A lot of them, I can’t cry for, almost rejoice, lot took the places of people who could be motivated enough to not only do the “job” but the real one.

    The only sad part here is the stability on which this whole ecosystem of bad behaviour is put on, the more stable it gets, the less human are the victim of that, well, the less humans in this stage of distress are considered human.

    Well, I can’t wait until someone realize putting pills in and money out of a simple man can make him upset when all he had was a “medical” need instead of a “medicinal treatment” addiction.

    But to be real honest here, I’m in Quebec canada, and I can only wish doctors would drop like flies. Because the stability start to become stable and not enough consequences drips from their let go. And let go there are. It’s the new green job, we want doctors but they have to go to drug school first

    Therefore people like me trying to find doctors outside of this plateau of wrong doing, because see, we want to live when we look for a doctor. But here they are for survival and excess drugs. No quality of life is put in the norm. And it’s debatable that it isn’t what we are looking for, but in 2022, with the technology we have, calling a snob, under-grown lapel wearing adolescent a doctor because he went to a specific set of school for a specific set of skills that is useful to a specific set of drug addict, that’s not a doctor, that’s a graduated problem on foot.

    Show me a real doctor depressed and I’ll show you drama. Until then, of course it’s depressing when you get out of 15-20 years of schools to end up doing the same job Jamal (name unrelated) did since he was 9 in the alley near the project, out of an abusing home, for sneakers. Pharmaceutical representative also take half the school out the bag. And some would want me to believe that a lapel wearing motherfucker who get hit by conscience is a sad situation?

    And to the, yes the, doctor who actually saves lives, and did a mistake and right now is having the hardest time,( because yeah, some of them actually want to help,) know what you did, and what you’re gonna do, if the time allows it, you’ll saves lives before you got the time to wallow in. Hang on, not to any ropes eh?

    Hang on to what made you save lives, we need you healthy and competent, and if a miss makes you dark and un wanting to practice, don’t deal drugs. I’d bet seeing some of those you saved could brighten your day, I’d prefer you take retirement at 40, keeping the couples of lives you saved in good memory, or company, instead of ruining some lives because you needed a salary to pay the medical debt.

    If you think of what could have happened, imagine being a lapel drug dealer, everyone you helped only need you to prescribe and you’ll start to fear your client. Don’t have client, have patient, real ones.
    Client in the drug world makes rare clean sales, and so many stabbing you wouldn’t want to risk it if you knew about it in the uni, but your dealer then wasn’t a doctor, and his drug didn’t f you up. And if he was…

    You won’t do yourself before taking your due of souls, and don’t do that with the hypocrisy of drugs, become a poker players and be good but don’t ruin lives that needs help.

    It’s only an opinion, just an opinion.

    Sorry if it was longer than the text referring that one, sometimes I get inspired and triggered about what seems to be recognized but clearly isn’t known and is acclaimed and putted on a pedestal. Coming from where I come from. The talks about doctors get to me like the stars in the darkest time. Because it’s the darkest times right now, (it’s a long (PS) f you I’m inspired) right now here we are about to dive in incompetence and dissociation of humans with their own stats, in the effing medical domain.

    Videoconferencing for a cancer would only put more lapel, or in this case, paper wearing motherfuckers, dealing things they don’t know to people they don’t know or care about, until the inevitable… Thursday, they’ll get a conscience, and in the lack of real lapel wearing heroes, they’ll kill themselves properly, like a good humans. Making the place again for the rightful people which won’t go because they’ll be at subway because of a bully one time made them late for school and missed the exam. Lol, i was about to say your loss, when in fact, every dollar worshiper, and slaves will die out of help and that includes me. Well, at least I can linger in my suffering seeing them drop out, drop dead or drop goods,(not good goods). Smoking my health in hope I go faster out of this burning world.

    Ohh would I have love to be a nurse and help people, but education is a must for social conforming. You know, the what is at the source of most of atrocities of toxicity for the modern world. Today I see what nurses endures and yes, it’s a result of the same way of ruling.

    But here in QC, I have a saying, for prosperity, for ruling, long live the queen!

    Hey america, i thought that famous war was won and you wouldn’t want to act as a ruled kingdom ESPECIALLY, SPECIFICALLY, for not becoming what this is now. Finally you do need a king to tell stupid shit to make opinions about. I’m not better, my opinion comes from the crimes of my nation against humanity. But I think my opinions comes from the same jist as a free person that understand that people are free.

    The subject above and beyond is all about non free people who walk a straight lines to achieve the linear result of what is needed to fit in the mold. To realize you only wanted to help amazon customers service but now by the power of money, debt, fear, pressure, order and motivation (for wherever motivation comes from these days), you’re way over your heels now and forced to get your due, respectfully to get a sense of worth you’ll deal drugs for more time than needed, and the bad is made right there.

    Post post scriptum, sorry for such a long text that will probably generate an error. It was only an opinion, and I know it may appear wrongly executed, but the only room I used to see in school was the closed one for the freak. So forgive me for my spelling mistake and if I look way too inspired for the falls of those who had the privilege of school. And I know about effort, and school ain’t a privilege. But a cell ain’t a walk in the park either, it’s actually the contrary.

    Have a good day and a better week. But know that a lapel don’t make the priest, mkay?

    Sincerely just an opinion, lol.
    -al “in need of a doctor” ex

  3. F**k doctors and their uncaring f**k you attitude towards their patients.

  4. The sentiments Dr. Hornstein expresses seem, unfortunately, typical of many of those belonging to the newer generations, not just doctors, but many of those raised in the last 20 years or so. (Pardon me, Dr. Hornstein, if you are older, but you sound like a 20 or 30-something.) Many of these folks seem to feel that everyone should be “nice” to them. Where did they get the idea that people are obligated to be nice to them or to treat them well?.
    The world will always be full of stinkers who gain satisfaction from abusing and denigrating others. Some of them also take perverse delight in harming others, or the careers of others, whenever they can. Who cares what those jokers think? They are the “sick” ones. By putting others down, they are desperately trying to shore up their own inadequate egos.
    Dr. Hornstein, you sound as if you may currently be a bit low on self-esteem. Remember that what others think of you does not, in any way, affect who you are, what you can do or what you are worth. You know who you are. Ignore them. If you are locked in a position where the misery they cause you is unavoidable, endure it and slog on. When the opportunity presents to get away, move on and forget them. (If you get fired, consider it a blessing.) Their behavior will eventually earn them the reward they deserve.
    Remember your Calling and why you answered it. Care about your patients. They are really the ones for whom you are working. Put them first, before yourself. Spend as much time with them as it takes to understand their problems and to provide effective treatment. Go out of your way to be helpful to them and to serve them well.
    Finally, never give up. When you feel overwhelmed, just keep on punching. Clear your mind and focus all your attention and energy on the patient before you and *his* problems. Pay attention to detail. Do not accept sloppy, careless, substandard work, from yourself or from others. Do the best job you can and live up to the ideals and ethics of the great and noble Profession of which you are privileged to be a member. Whether or not you ever make any money, you will receive a satisfaction and reward that few in this life are privileged to enjoy.

    R. Wayne Porter, M.D.
    Family Physician, solo practice
    Terrell, Texas

  5. Note and agree, Killshot. There are very few processes which are improved by contempt, not that its a lot of fun to engage in by the shallow and self-absorbed – just beat the doctors harder, and they can work better, those lazy bums! Whimpery types – Dr. Thomas Hendricks, you know the ones!

  6. Amazingly contemptuous review, wow! So, anyone who complains against the machine is merely a resentful sour-graper that cannot be comfortable with her/his second-rate status?
    Perhaps in the bright-sail days of the plucky Horatio Hornblower, one could rise to the top by cheek and verve, in spite of initial poverty and lack of influential friends. It sure makes a handy explanation of Poverty in America – those lazy bucks and their gimme mentality! They could all be neurosurgeons if they just TRIED, for God’s sake.

    “Unaccomodating” was not a word used towards idiot lower officers in places like Vietnam. “The kind of SOB that will get you killed,,,” was, however. Perhaps our “poor performers,” as Dr. Lack offers, might have fought harder in the jungles and won the war, rather than their own inferior combat skills? Ya think so? Even with lukewarm mentorship?
    Offering contempt ain’t fixing the problem, nor is the trend towards narcissistic (when not psychopathic) leadership by the self-designated Golden Ones who are just trying to hold the pitiful many up to the highest standards. You go with that, Doc. You go right on and tell’m.
    So the 400 medical suicides – a veiled reference in the first paragraph – is just the normal, natural thinning of the herd? Right on!

  7. This is another “poor me” blog which takes obvious behavioral conclusions and glorifies poor performance with multiple excuses based on such conclusions when they might not be applicable. Why confuse poor decision making with inappropriate behavior of mentors. Who leads such a gilded life that they don’t have to overcome obstacles, even those presented by unaccommodating personalities of mentors.

  8. Nicely done. A few footnotes might include continuous disregard for what an MDs time is worth (in most cases far less than a plumber’s now), impossible regulatory requirements for documentation of everything including patient emails and phone calls, and providing every incentive possible to discourage intellectual curiosity and creativity in the clinical setting (practice guidelines that are usually years out of date by the time they are printed up). And remember — when an accountant or attorney charges for a phone call or meeting, they simply have to list it as “phone call or meeting” with very little documentation necessary as to what the content was other than a brief description. When an MD does ANYTHING, they have to document it all right down to the shoes they were wearing when they did it. Of course, not billable time.