The Homeopathic Doctor - Logo Dr Shoshana Scott
Dr Shoshana Scott

Burnout among health care professional's: a doctor's story

Wednesday, Oct 8 - 2014

Today a doctor came for a homeopathic consultation with me.

When she came for her appointment, it was a very intense hour and a half. It was the classic burnout of a compassionate care giver, writ large. Celine is blond, with gigantic blue eyes, a delicate expressive face. When she smiles at you, you are sure you will live to 100 years old. But during this hour and a half, I didnít see her smile much.

Celine had lived on the West Coast in a Native community. This after working in South Africa in an attempt to realize why she had become a doctor. There, she said, people work in the hospitals for free. They sing while they work. They work because the work has to get done. While she was there she realized she wanted to work with Native people in her own land. It made sense to her because she is Canadian. And indeed, she is deeply accepted into the Native community. Just this month she has been asked to lead a sweat, where the main dude has heart trouble and has been advised not to sweat. they have come to accept her beyond just her medical skills but to value her input as a leader and contributing member of the community.

There is another side to it all. Always been a sensitive soul she said, even to animals, whatever and whoever was around her. There is this pain cloud around the community she said. People she was very close to there got hurt or they died. She began to feel overwhelmed, like she herself had one of the diseases her clients described like leukaemia or fibromyalgia. She used to do so much, like surfing. That bathing in the cold sea was a spiritual dip, but the act of paddling out to the waves through the water became terrifying, just too hard. She began to be afraid for her judgement, for serious cases like chest pain she wanted to send people elsewhere. She took a big break, a long hiatus and found herself again. But upon returning to the hospital for the first time, sitting in her car in the parking lot she felt tremendous fear. Do I have what it takes any longer to do this?

Her physical symptoms were: Symptomatically she presented with anemia, acne, anxiety or angst, asthma and allergies and bladder incontinence.

What I love about homeopathy is that we actually have tools to help Celine. Homeopathy is an holistic system of medicine that recognizes when a person is sick, the illness effects the mind body and spirit. It is designed to stimulate a personís natural healing mechanism through the application of the principle SImilia Similibus Curantur, like to be treated by like. In other words, it uses substances that produce symptoms similar to those of the disease being treated.

We believe in individualization because each individual is born with their own genetic code, their own susceptibility. People are unique whether in sickness or in health.

This system of medical treatment utilizes micro-doses of substances derived from elements of nature such as plants, minerals and animals, to arouse a personís natural healing response.

A homeopathic program is designed for Celine with homeopathic medicines that will address her health concerns at all levels. There are six medicines prescribed, each of which have their own sphere of action. For example, the first medicine on her program is Arsenicum album which acts, according to Boerickeís materia medica:

ď profoundly on every organ and tissue. Its clear cut characteristic symptoms and correspondence to many severe types of disease make its homeopathy employment constant and certain. Among these the all-pervading debility, exhaustion, and restlessness with nightly aggravation are most important. Where there is great exhaustion with the slightest exertion, Arsenicum album does much to relieve. Anemia and Chlorosis. Where they is great anguish and restlessness, fears. of death, of being let alone. Where the general sensibility is increased, where she is sensitive to disorder and confusion. Where ailments arise out of fear, fright and worry,Ē

Arsenicum album will soothe and bring resolution. Where that internal angst that she will never get better, that she has a serious disease that many people secretly, quietly feel Arsenicum will relieve. At the same time it will lessen her fatigue, address the allergies and asthma and anemia.

I donít think that what doctors can experience is recognized enough. That a doctor could burn out or be afraid or experience loss. The intensity of her fear, her need, came as a big surprise to me too. She is not the first doctor who has arrived at my door step needing to talk. Or nurse. I am no expert in this, they should speak for themselves, but I canít help but notice the really good ones feel hampered by the ten minutes they are allotted to spend with patients.That dealing with one problem which a patient is allowed to present does not satisfy them. Or they are always running late and getting in trouble with the office assistants and other patients.

Celine was also referred for counselling which is another important piece. After the trauma she had experienced, it seems obvious yet doctors seem to have a quiet understanding that this is why they are paid the big bucks. Suck it up kid. I think doctors would be far better care givers if they were encouraged to seek help after traumatic cases.

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