Occupy Medicine, Anyone?

Occupy Medicine, Anyone

By Lissa Rankin, MD

Guest writer for Wake Up World

The Lineage of Medicine

The current medical system requires most doctors to sell their souls. Doctors are called to the lineage of healing that is as old as our species, much as priests are called to the priesthood. They endure a decade’s worth of traumatic medical education that leaves them with PTSD. Then they enter a system that asks them to violate their ethics. It goes against their very ethics to be expected to see 40 patients per day. It goes against their ethics to have to spend so much time filling out paperwork or entering data into a computer that they don’t have any time left to listen to the patient. It goes against their ethics to betray the sacredness of the doctor-patient relationship.

When I was still seeing patients, I often went home and cried because I knew how much more I could have offered to my patients if only I had had more time with them, time to sit at their bedside and hold their hand, time to be present with their pain, time to really appreciate the honor it is to have a front row seat on life and death.

How We Learn Helplessness

I knew I wanted to practice medicine differently, but I felt helpless and hopeless and victimized by a system that had corrupted my ability to practice in alignment with my ethics. The feeling that I was selling my soul in the way I was practicing medicine got so strong that I had to leave medicine. I couldn’t keep my integrity and practice medicine that way anymore, but leaving medicine didn’t feel right either because the calling to the lineage hadn’t gone away. It felt wrong to quit, but it felt even worse to keep selling out my soul.

I’m not alone in feeling this way. Some of the best doctors are quitting, because like me, they can’t bear to have their ethics violated anymore. But we don’t want the best doctors to leave medicine! We need to find a way for doctors to, once again, practice in alignment with their ethics.

I know many doctors feel this way. They are allowing the system to violate their ethics and the pain of the betrayal is almost impossible to bear. Yet, why are doctors just rolling over and letting this happen? (Read my thoughts on letting go of victimhood here.)

Take Back Medicine

Some are breaking out of the managed care insurance vice by starting concierge or cash-based medical practices so they can have more time with patients. But this is just a Band-Aid solution, and it doesn’t acknowledge that excellent health care is a human right, not a privilege only reserved for the wealthy. It works for the doctor because the doctor can then practice in alignment with her ethics. But it doesn’t work for patients who can’t afford to go outside the insurance system.

Doctors and patients need to solve this problem, not politicians. We are a smart, compassionate, ambitious, loving, creative bunch. What a mighty good army we could be in service to a worthy cause. Why aren’t we mobilizing to reclaim the lineage that belongs to us? Why are we throwing up our hands and acting like we’re victims of a corrupt system instead of pushing those who threaten to corrupt us out of the middle of the doctor-patient relationship? We act like we’re waiting for someone to come save us, but no one in Washington is going to throw us a lifeline. There’s too much money, too much greed at stake. Doctors, we must reclaim the lineage and save ourselves.

Occupy medicine, anyone?

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A New York Times bestselling book by Lissa Rankin MD.


We’ve been led to believe that when we get sick, it’s our genetics. Or it’s just bad luck — and doctors alone hold the keys to optimal health. Therefore when Dr. Lissa Rankin’s own health started to suffer, she turned to Western medical treatments, but what she found was that they not only failed to help; they made her worse. So she decided to take matters
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Previous articles by Lissa Rankin:

About the author:

Lissa Rankin MD, Wake Up World bioLissa Rankin, MD is a mind-body medicine physician, founder of the Whole Health Medicine Institute training program for physicians and healthcare providers, and the New York Times bestselling author of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself & The Fear Cure. She is on a grass roots mission to heal healthcare, while empowering you to heal yourself.

Lissa blogs at LissaRankin.com and also created two online communities – HealHealthCareNow.com and OwningPink.com. She is also the author of two other books, a speaker, a professional artist, an amateur ski bum, and an avid hiker. She lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and daughter.

Connect with Lissa on Facebook and Twitter, or visit LissaRankin.com


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