The Moral Distress Syndrome Affecting Physicians : How Current Healthcare is Putting Doctors and Patients at Risk book cover
1st Edition

The Moral Distress Syndrome Affecting Physicians
How Current Healthcare is Putting Doctors and Patients at Risk

ISBN 9780367471538
Published September 25, 2020 by Productivity Press
232 Pages

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Book Description

The rise of suicide and burnout among physicians has brought a new disease to the healthcare provider, which we previously thought only affected the soldier: moral distress syndrome, second only to moral injury.

In this book we introduce the concept of moral distress syndrome, which includes any or all of the following: depression, PTSD, risk of suicide, divorce, emotional detachment, and the inability to build healthy relationships and empathy.

While veterans can report to veteran hospitals for treatment, the physician cannot find treatment or support without fear of losing their license, their hospital privileges, and their job. Therefore, they are stuck dealing with the issue themselves, along with their family or their circle of friends.

To raise decisive awareness of the problems related to moral distress, we wrote this book.

This book is designed around physicians talking to other physicians about their moral distresses in a safe space. It brings all the aspects of the moral distress syndrome in a format familiar to the physician: grand rounds with a magistral lecture, where the audience asks the question and directly participates on the subject. The reader will feel like part of the audience and may want to ask their own questions as the book progresses.

The format of the book is divided into three parts.

In the first part, the research, data, and a crude number of problems are given: moral distress syndrome, PTSD, burnout, suicide, divorce rates, emotional detachment, legal distress syndrome, physicians leaving medicine, and the feeling of being a hamster in a wheel.

In the second part, we embellish on real life experiences of physicians to highlight the pain and depth of the moral distress they feel. We share stories around the character—their family, love life, divorce, etc.—to show the individual person behind the doctor.

In the third part, we focus on society and physician suffering and the birth of moral distress. This part focuses on the physician’s empathy as a way to point out his problems, weaknesses, and issues, and find possible solutions for him and other physicians facing the same issues. At the end of the third part, we discuss how it is the responsibility of physicians, patients, and society as a whole to heal in the face of moral injury, as recommended by the American Medical Association. We finish with the search for good friends and safe spaces, the cornerstones for the healing process.

Structure of the Chapters.

To make it easier to follow the material, at the beginning of each chapter we outline the points discussed, as a speaker outlines the material, summarizing it in the first slide of each topic. We hope that this way the readers can focus on the issues quickly throughout the book.

This book is formatted as a business novel and therefore the characters and situations are drawn from liberally. As well as reading like a novel, the reader can read each chapter separately and still understand the points.

Table of Contents

PART I: THE ISSUES FUELING THE MORAL DISTRESS SYNDROME  1. The Grand Round lecture  2. Moral Distress Syndrome  3. Litigation syndrome  4. Burn out  5. Suicide from Medical Student to residents to clinicians  6. Why Physicians suffer more suicides?  7. Malpractice: can create everlasting injury  8. Why is Medicine burning out physicians?  9. Broken system and corporate culture  10. Physician Leaving Medicine  11. Impossible Victory: working as a chain worker  12. Emotional trauma: brain zapping and concussion  13. Divorce among physicians  14. Medical Malpractice Insurance crises  15. Opioid crisis and relief  PART II: THE DOCTOR, THE MAN  16. Training hurdles  17. Double Residencies  18. How medicine can ruin a marriage  19. The Legal Issues and hollow victory  20. Inability to return to work: the apex of Moral distress  PART III: THE SOCIETY AND THE SUFFERING PHYSICIANS  21. Society responsibilities  22. Emotional detachment and Patients responsibilities  23. Do patients want to participate in their care?  24. It is challenging to be a physician  25. The loneliness of a Physician in moral distress  26. Divorce because of moral distress  27. The stress of the lawsuit breaks family  28. The birth of moral distress: the syndrome  29. Are physicians discriminated?  30. The American Medical Association (AMA) Directions  31. Safe space and final Introspections

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Eldo E. Frezza is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (FACS), American Medical Association, American Medical Physician Leadership. He is now Chief of Surgery at Nashville General Hospital and Professor at Meharry Medical school.