“You Make Me Sick!”: Unhappy Marriages Can Lead To Poor Health

October 17, 2007

A bad marriage can lead to poor health.  According to researchers, marital discord and bad relationships can increase your risk for heart disease. 

Research scientists said on Monday that stress, an acknowledged contributor or health problems is a byproduct of troubled relationships.

In a study of 9,011 British civil servants, most of them married, those with the worst close relationships were 34 percent more likely to have heart attacks or other heart trouble during 12 years of follow-up than those with good relationships. That included partners, close relatives and friends.

The study, in Monday’s Archives of Internal Medicine, follows previous research that has linked health problems with being single and having few close relationships. In the new study, researchers focused more on the quality of marriage and other important relationships.

”What we add here is that, ‘OK, being married is in general good, but be careful about the kind of person you have married.’ The quality of the relationship matters,” said lead author Roberto De Vogli, a researcher with University College in London.

Source:  AP, N.Y. Times Link to Article


Texas Supreme Court Denies Rehearing In Roman Embryo Case

October 16, 2007

On October 12, 2007, the Texas Supreme Court denied a request by Augusta Roman to reconsider the Court’s decision in the case of Roman v. Roman which involves how frozen embryos should be divided in Texas Divorce Cases. 

The Texas Supreme Court had previously refused to hear Augusta Roman’s appeal of a lower court’s decision which said the frozen embryos would not be awarded to her in a Texas divorce.  A refusal to hear a case is the legal equivalent of upholding the lower court’s decision.

Randy Roman and Augusta Roman created and froze the embryos due to difficulties they had in having children.  While still frozen, the embryos became part of a highly contested court case when Randy and Augusta decided to divorce prior to the embryos being implanted.  The trial judge awarded the embryos to the wife in the divorce, who wanted to have them implanted even though the husband did not want children born out of wedlock.  However this ruling was reversed on appeal because the parties had signed an agreement at the time of the embryos’ creation that the embryos would be destroyed in the event of divorce.

Under the rules of the Texas Supreme Court, the Court will NOT consider a second motion for rehearing. Therefore, Augusta has exhausted all her options for appeal on the state level and the decision that she will be denied the embryos stands. 

There is no word yet as to whether Augusta Roman plans to file with the U.S. Supreme Court.

Doctors and Divorce

October 5, 2007

Marriages can be stressful for anyone.  But doctors face an unusual amount of work related stress including long hours, demanding patients, stressful working conditions, social demands, and perhaps unrealistic expectations about how work and family life could be balanced.

Despite the added pressures, there are no reliable statistics to suggest that rates of divorce among physicians differ from any other profession.  This is probably a testament to the fact that most physicians are extraordinary individuals with strong commitments to both work and family. 

Despite this, doctors face the same divorce rate as everyone else- somewhere in the 49% to 50% range.  Interestingly though, among physicians there seems to be a great disparity of divorce rates based on sex and practice specialty.

 According to one US study, psychiatrists have the highest rate of divorce, with surgeons as the next most likely to divorce. 

A 2003 study by Dr. Gail Robinson of the Toronto General Hospital into stresses faced by women doctors found that “rates of successful suicide and divorce are much higher” than the general public.

Dr. Wayne Sotile, a clinical psychologist who treats physicians in Winston-Salem, NC says his clinical experience bears this out. 

“The burnout and divorce rate for women MDs is higher”, says Dr. Sotile.  He also notes that the most angry and disgruntled group he encounters are young men married to physicians.  He states that tensions felt by both parties about the gender role reversals creates difficulty in the marriages.

Interestingly, it appears that doctors married to other doctors have a much lower incidence of divorce.  A 2002 study found that they have a relatively low divorce rate of 11%.  This may be because each spouse understands the demands of being a physician. 

Yet, despite these variances, physicians overall are involved in divorce cases at least as much as the general populace.  However, the complexity of their divorce cases is usually much higher than people in other professions.  This is because of the need to value creative or complex businesses that physicians often create for their practices,  the need to assess the community interest in complex portfolios, and the need to have tailored solutions in divorce decrees. 

Because of these added complexities, physicians or spouses of physicians should consult with divorce attorneys who are experienced in dealing with divorces in which at least one of the parties are a doctor.   If your case is in the Houston/Galveston area, the author’s law firm, The Palmer Law Firm is experienced in dealing with these types of divorce.