Coast officials say they are lucky a walkout by general surgeons at four Coast hospitals, has not yet threatened any lives. Tuesday was day two of a 30 day work stoppage. The surgeons say it is their way of protesting skyrocketing malpractice insurance rates.
Despite the problems, one coast doctor we spoke with said it is still business as usual, and there is no reason to panic. Despite that, rumors continue to run rampant.
"We've had lots of phone calls today, and last week asking if we are going on strike, if we are a part of the surgeons group, that's going on strike," Dr. Tricia Frieze said.
Frieze is an internist in Biloxi, she has been practicing here for only about one year. Like most doctors, she says her patients are worried about what they are seeing on the news. And, she is quick to tell you, things are pretty tough for physicians right now.
"I think it is exactly that bad. And I think there needs to be a tremendous amount of change. I think it is sad that it had to come to this end before we started to make the changes," Frieze said.
Although this is unchartered territory for those in the medical profession in this state, Dr. Friesz has this to say to those who claim she picked the wrong time and the wrong place to become a doctor.
"It may have been bad timing, it may have been really good timing. The way I see it, things are starting to change, and swing in the right direction."
Dr. Frieze says no physician she knows has threatened to leave the Coast. As for her, leaving is not in her plans, no matter what happens. Dr. Friesz says lately, she has been spending a lot of time assuring her patients, everything will be okay.
"I think people need to keep in mind, all physicians just really want to care for patients."