A sad day in the medical blogosphere

I’m a couple of days late with this, but yesterday I finally got around to checking some of my usual medblogs when I came across some bad news. Medblogging stalward Dr. Sydney Smith (the nom de blog of Medpundit) is hanging up her blogging keyboard for good. She’s been at it since 2002 and in that time had become as close to a fixture in the medical blogosphere as anyone can be. By comparison, I started blogging nearly three years after Dr. Smith, in December 2004, and, although I’m not yet considered an old-timer blogger yet (either that, or I’m deluding myself), I’m rapidly approaching that status. Dr. Smith and I have occasionally had some disagreements, but Medpundit was one of my early influences. I rapidly realized that my style was too different from her style for patterning myself after Medpundit to work, but that doesn’t mean Dr. Smith wasn’t an influence.

What’s even sadder is her reason for quitting:

Long time readers will have noticed that the frequency and quality of posts have been declining over the past several months. That is because I no longer have the time needed to devote to it. The phrase “declining reimbursement and rising overhead,” is repeated so often in medicine that it seems a cliche, but it’s also a reality. I’m spending longer hours at work and seeing more patients to support my office and my family. The 1-2 hours a day it takes to keep up the blog are no longer there. I don’t have any hope of that getting better in the foreseeable future. In fact, I anticipate that in the next 1-2 years, I’ll be adding even more office hours until I’ve reached the limits of my physical and mental capabilities.

I’ve also come to realize that I’ve been neglecting my family too long.

(Read the rest.)

Family practitioners have it really rough these days. Reimbursement keeps getting ratcheted down while expenses remain fixed or keep going up, forcing them to have to see more and more patients to get the same reimbursement and stay afloat. The situation is the same in surgical specialties and procedure-oriented internal medicine specialties like gastroenterology or invasive cardiology. However, it’s much worse in primary care specialties because primary care doctors don’t do many procedures, for which reimbursement is often considerably better. All primary care physicians can do is to add more office hours.

I wish Sydney the best and hope that someday she finds the time to come back to blogging or to figure out a way to post once a week or every so often. However, I also hoped the same thing when St. Nate retired from blogging and handed over the reins of the Skeptics’ Circle to me, and he hasn’t been back yet. Consequently, I realize that she probably won’t be back.

Anyone who liked her blog, if you haven’t already done so, now would be a good time head on over and say goodbye.