What made you decide to write your new book, Doctored? What were you hoping to accomplish?
When I was growing up, my mother wanted me to become a doctor. She told me, “I want people to stand when you walk into a room.” When I started my first job as a cardiologist, I realized I had been isolated from the changes occurring in medicine. I was a fellow in cardiology; I was learning about the human body, the heart, the physiology, and the therapeutics, but not about the culture of practice. I was shocked to see how unhappy many of my colleagues were. The unhappiness wasn’t just about paperwork, patients going on the Internet, malpractice, the usual things you hear about – it was a deeper, more existential problem. The problem was the systems of medicine didn’t allow them to be the kind of doctor they wanted to be – the same kind I wanted to be. When I entered medical school, I had this fantasy that I was going to reform the profession somehow. I didn’t know how, but I thought I would, somehow. When I got out, I started seeing physicians who were unhappy. I think their unhappiness was a response to this loss of ideals. I think a lot of physicians have had to compromise their ideals because of a diseased system. That’s why I wrote the book. I wanted to write about it and put it out there.
Brent Schnipke, MD is a physician and writer based in Dayton, OH. He graduated medical school in 2018 and completed his psychiatry residency at Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine. He currently practices in Dayton, OH. His professional interests include medical humanities, mental health, and medical education.