No Honor In the Honor System

 Is it just me or is it starting to feel completely demoralizing being a physician right now? All week long, I’ve seen patients who have been out and about like a pandemic isn’t happening and people aren’t dying from Covid19.

True stories: 

One person took the elderly mother out for a night of gambling.

One person took the family to Las Vegas for a week.

One person drove into Mexico to surf and drink.

Multiple people attending parties at other people’s homes or hosting parties at their own homes.

And everyone developed a symptom followed by the frantic phone call to the doctor requesting Covid19 testing. “Because I want to take every precaution,” as one person said to me. 

Precaution is keeping your body home. Away from others. Not going out partying and then requesting testing once you have already exposed others. 

I have taken three, yes three, days of vacation in 2020. We are ten and a half months into the year. And I’ve taken three vacation days. I stayed home those three days. So I could stay healthy. So I wouldn’t risk getting my family or my patients sick. 

Of course I would have loved to have gone somewhere. Of course I miss pre-pandemic life.

The utter selfishness and carelessness I’m seeing honestly hurts my heart.

I don’t believe in a totalitarian society. Nor do I believe in shaming people for their bad decisions. But I do believe in basic freaking human decency and respect. Which is utterly lacking. It is clear that there is no honor in the honor system.

Now I can’t help but wonder what if there has been stricter lockdowns earlier on? What if reckless people were penalized? Would we be in a better position now? My state is issuing a month-long curfew. It feels like we have made zero progress. Zero.

As physician burnout soars, I also can’t help but wonder if people can still expect physicians to care anymore when they don’t care enough about themselves or their loved ones to avoid illness in the first place with their bad behavior.


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