By Rose de la Cruz | Published: November 19, 2020
Self-preservation, mental and physical fatigues have caused many doctors in the United States to quit the profession because of the COVID—19 pandemic, which has taken its turn for the worse.
A story of the New York Times on Nov. 17 said that thousands of medical practices have closed during the pandemic, according to a July survey of 3,500 doctors by the Physicians Foundation, a nonprofit group.
About 8 percent of the doctors reported closing their offices in recent months, which the foundation estimated could equal some 16,000 practices. Another 4 percent said they planned to shutter within the next year.
Other doctors and nurses are retiring early or leaving their jobs. Some worry about their own health because of age or a medical condition that puts them at high risk. Others stopped practicing during the worst of the outbreaks and do not have the energy to start again. Others simply need a break from the toll that the pandemic has taken among their ranks and their patients.
Another analysis, from the Larry A. Green Center with the Primary Care Collaborative, a nonprofit group, found similar patterns. Nearly a fifth of primary care clinicians surveyed in September say someone in their practice plans to retire early or has already retired because of COVID-19, and 15 percent say someone has left or plans to leave the practice.
The clinicians also painted a grim picture of their lives, as the pandemic enters a newly robust phase with record U.S. case counts. About half already said their mental exhaustion was at an all-time high. Many worried about keeping their doors open: About 7 percent said they were not sure they could remain open past December without financial help.
Dr. Kelly McGregory, who had to close her private pediatric practice outside Minneapolis because of the pandemic relocated to Plymouth, Minn. With her family.
For some, family obligations left them no choice.
“Honestly, if it had not been for the pandemic, I would have still been working because it was not my plan to retire.