Thursday, March 21, 2013


"No retreat, no surrender; that is Spartan law. And by Spartan law we will stand and fight... and die." - Leonidas

But I wasn't willing to die. And I wasn't willing to give up my passion, compassion, sensibility, ethics, morality, optimism or sanity.  So I surrendered and did an absolutely unheard of act. I left residency.

I think the breaking point for me was the election of our new chief residents for next year who have been widely quoted that "the only thing I want in my medical career is lots of money". Money as a motivation for this pathway was never present for me.

Medicine is no fun by definition and had become less so under the direction of individuals with the sensitivity of granite and no sense of what adult education is all about. I've met very few people in my education and training that represented what I wanted to become and they have largely left medicine or are at their waning moments of practice. And the few role models I found were outside of my program, just an arm's length away, sequestered by "the match".

Truth is I don't know many happy people working in medicine, or maybe I just identify those folks more readily. I've almost resigned myself to unhappiness in my career myself. But one thing I wasn't willing to do is sacrifice another chunk of years to an end result that was so disappointing as the specialty I defaulted into, with people I didn't respect, in a place I didn't want to live in. I've left a residency spot open for someone else to fill (and fill it they will, easily) with someone who appreciates it much more and has the mentation to do it well.

For me, it was surrender and live.

P.S. Congratulations to my colleagues from medical school who matched in 2013. It's very exciting to see some bright young minds entering the field to hopefully make a difference.