When you think of the medical professions, you think about saving lives, helping people get better and preventing disease. But did you ever think of what Veterinarians do on a regular basis? It's my guess that you probably don't consider the one major aspect of their job that has them feeling depressed and committing suicide at rates higher than any other medical field. That aspect is quite simply, the administration of death.
It is an unfortunate reality of their job and one that shouldn't be ignored. Imagine for a moment that a family brings in their dog because it was hit by a car. I know, it's not a pleasant image. The dog is alive, but hurt, probably with some broken bones and maybe some cuts and scrapes. With hopeful ambition, the vet comes to them and says they can patch up the family pooch and have him back running around in no time, but that the cost of that fix is going to be $800. Suddenly, the happy family starts to look at the ground.
No, this friendly animal is not dying of some exotic disease or chronic illness. It has a few injuries that can easily be repaired right there in the office of the vet. But instead, this doctor will have to kill the animal, simply because the family can't afford the costs of treatment. This completely viable animal will die because this human family doesn't have the money to administer the healing techniques offered by the vet.
This is only one of many scenarios that a veterinarian will go through during their career. They must offer these choices to families and people day in and day out. It's no wonder they are more clinically depressed than ever and record numbers are committing suicide. Combine that with lower salaries than their human doctor counterparts and the feelings of hopelessness are compounded.
Thankfully, however, there are people out in the world helping. Coach Ryan and his partner Jen have started an organization designed to help these doctors and to better deal with the massive weight of their careers. I had the wonderful opportunity to speak with Coach Ryan on the 21st episode of The Professional podcast and I sincerely hope that you can draw wisdom from their work.
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