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5 Reasons Why Doctors Should Be Highly Paid

Discussion in 'Doctors Cafe' started by Egyptian Doctor, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. Egyptian Doctor

    Egyptian Doctor Moderator Verified Doctor

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    All right, I’m biased. I’ll admit it. I think doctors, especially me, should make a gazillion dollars. Now that we have that disclosure out of the way, I’d like to explore five reasons why we (as a society) shouldn’t want physician pay to go lower.

    1) Physicians provide a valuable service

    Most importantly, what doctors do is valuable. In all the whining about the high cost of health care, few people would argue we should just bag the whole thing all together. The day to day work of a doctor is valuable. Worries are extinguished, lives are lengthened, and quality of life is improved. Does medicine have lots of problems? Sure. Are there some bad doctors out there? Of course. But overall, physician services have a high economic value. Those who provide them deserve appropriate compensation for the value provided. We don’t think twice about plunking down $200 for an iPhone, but balk at $200 to get a specialist’s opinion on treating a serious condition? Where are our priorities?

    2) The Lost Decade

    The 20s and early 30s are the prime of life. You typically enjoy good health, can run on little sleep, can bounce back easily from a hard day, and are often free from burdensome family responsibilities. Many physicians come out of residency feeling as though they checked out of life for 5-15 years. They’ve lost friends, missed opportunities, and often times suffered through the loss of important romantic relationships. They’ve missed weddings, funerals, vacations, reunions (I was in my first month of internship during my 10 year high school reunion) etc. If there is no financial compensation for this loss (i.e. a light at the end of the tunnel), the intelligent people you want to go into medicine won’t.

    3) A Difficult Job

    When I was growing up in Alaska, everyone understood that you had to be paid well to do a difficult job. Commercial fishermen didn’t risk their lives on the Bering Sea for minimum wage. Oil men didn’t work a two-weeks-on-two-weeks-off schedule on the North Slope for lower middle class wages. If your corporation wanted to send you to Alaska, it had to pay you a lot of money to do so. There was a well-known relationship evident in everything people did. If a job required hard work, long hours, odd hours, and/or a great deal of stress, it paid more. Enter medicine- long hours, constant stress of not diagnosing or treating someone properly (leading to the patient getting sick or even dying), and the bureaucratic hassles imposed by government and other payors, and you’ve got a hard job that deserves to be paid well. How many times have you been told by friends and family “I could never do that, I can’t stand the blood.” (Or the rectals and pelvics, or sick people, or the stress, or the call, or the crazies.) More importantly, it’s a hard job that requires compassion, difficult decision-making, leadership, intelligence, continuous learning, and decades of dedication. That deserves appropriate compensation.

    4) Constant Liability

    I never thought about this much as a pre-med, or even a medical student. Becoming involved in two suits during my first two months of residency (I was dismissed from both thankfully) really opened my eyes. Ever since then I constantly think about and worry about legal liability for my actions. I worry more about doing the right thing for my patients so they actually get better and don’t die, but you better believe I never fill out a chart without thinking about how I would defend it in court. You think your grocer worries about that? Or your mortgage broker? How many times a day do you suppose a teacher worries about getting sued for $5 Million? Don’t you think having to deal with that constantly hanging over your head deserves a little bit bigger paycheck? I do. I used to think I’d be a doctor even if it only paid $50K. Now? No way. And the constant liability is a major part of it.

    5) Long, Costly Training

    If it takes a few months of training to learn to do something, it should pay more than something you can pick up in 10 minutes on the job. But what if something takes more than a decade to learn? And requires you to take on levels of debt that many wouldn’t consider for a mortgage they plan to pay off over 30 years. Isn’t that worth something? It’s gotten to the point where the typical graduate of many medical schools simply cannot afford to go into the lower-paying specialties. That’s just not right. Some argue that the problem is that other specialists are paid too much, stealing part of the income of a lower-paid specialist. Having worked in a system where no specialists are making more than the very low six figures, and watching people quit that job at the first available opportunity, I just don’t believe that lowering the pay for all physicians to the lowest common denominator is the solution.


    If our society demotes doctors from their status as professionals and business owners to that of unionized workers, our society is going to get what we deserve. The medical training pipeline is long enough that it will take a while to see the effects, but in the end, we’ll rue the day we decided quality health care wasn’t worth paying for.

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  2. Peter7

    Peter7 Young Member

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    I totally agree with your post and I appreciate you to share this idea with us in this forum. I am very glad to be the part of this community..
     

  3. Ranka

    Ranka Young Member

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    I totally agree with this post too. But, in my country, the doctor is paid a little bit more than average worker. By the way, I am Ranka and I graduated on medical faculty two months ago. I am so glad to be the part of this community.
     

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  4. Adi Prasetyo

    Adi Prasetyo Young Member

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    Hi, I am a General Practitioner and I agree also..

    In my country, many doctors (General Practitioners) get paid very low, but sued more than they can afford. We worked over hours, often over our limits and in the end we dropped sick because the need of money to survive living...

    My country also still a developing country, there are still a lot of poor people, dirty environment, clinics that don't meet the criteria for a safe and healthy clinic....

    I have an experience, while I'm still working in a 24 hours clinic, with a dirty bedroom for me to sleep, no ventilation, no air conditioner, only with a dirty desk fan so I have to clean it first...Very dirty minor surgery set that I have no idea how that clinic is maintained and I only get paid about 200 thousand rupiahs, that's about US $ 20.

    The second clinic I worked, has a 15 hours shift from 8 am to 11 pm, no break time and no meals (you have to buy from your own money) and the number of patients you can get for that shift alone is about 70 - 100 patients...you really don't have time to rest...the pay? around $ 30 to max $ 50 per 15 hours, that depends on what case you get...if you do a suture or other minor surgery, you can get $ 50 or a bit more a day...but if not, only $ 25 - 30 a day....roughly $ 900 a month, that's less than $ 12000 a year....
    Is it enough? I seriously don't think so...How can you collect enough money for your life later, if you get married, have children etc only with that money?

    Seriously those clinics really didn't treat us doctors well, only thinking about their profit.

    After several times I did my shifts here and there, and many other clinics, I couldn't take it anymore. I quit. I looked for a better job.

    It's likely people only want to get more from us without giving more respect to their doctors. They only care about their belongings than their own health...as you said earlier, $ 200 for iPhone is nothing, but $ 200 for specialist is really something...It's the very same here...They can buy the latest iPhone for what? about $ 700 but throwing grunts to us when they must paid only $ 100 for they medical bills, and most of their diseases are caused by themselves. Still looking for something or someone to blame...These patients are really annoying...

    We as doctors had given many advise and therapy the best we could to our patients about their condition, but they don't care. But in the end when their disease not cured, they blamed us...well, not all of them of course...But what can we do? We can only smile and be patient...while still doing our job professionally...

    And what makes things worse is...many lawsuit roaming "in disguise" in hospital, looking for case they can get to the court...the world is evil...

    Now I worked in a hospital and another clinic...hoping to find my way to do a better life...

    Being a doctor is either a gift..........or a curse...

    Sorry for my bad English and Nice to meet you all....


    Dedicatio Pro Humanitati
     

    Last edited: Oct 16, 2013
  5. mokgothula

    mokgothula Young Member

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    Well said doctor..., they don't know how hard it is to obtain a medical degree #sad#
     

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  6. llIH

    llIH Active member

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    For myself. Honestly:
    The privilege to work the rest of my life in such interesting fields in medicine is the "pay" for me. I don't care so much if I get paid a lot or not. As long as I can survive and live a normal life.
    Waking up every day knowing I will do research on human development and or surgical progression is Number 1 for me!
     

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  7. Adhizta

    Adhizta Active member

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    well, I couldn't agree more. :D
    but actually, we do not really care about the high payment. the most important thing is we can save some people.
     

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  8. Dr. M A Khan

    Dr. M A Khan Young Member

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    Strongly agreed......!
     

  9. Albin

    Albin Young Member

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    Reply to the quopte


    1) Physicians provide a valuable service
    The service is valuable when it is done with ethics, unfortunately we seem to be having fewer doctors with ethics, although we hope thats not the case.

    2) The Lost Decade - I agree that it takes a lot of sacrifice and effort to contribute to medicine, though you cant compare this profession to any other, there are professions that involve sacrifice, like research, or Govt servoces, being an actor, Chartered Accountant, etc. Yes the crucial difference is that you have added responsibilities to save a life. Though We have empathy to your sacrifice, please remember that other professions also their forms of sacrifice which is almost the same experiences that you have indicated.

    3) A Difficult Job
    People usually take up difficult jobs or are given difficult jobs because they are expected to handle them efficiently than the rest of the crowd. So do your best with the job in hand- saving lives....

    4) Constant Liability - We all appreciate the skills a doctor has, but if you have decided to take up the profession and if you believe in your capabilities, you shouldnt worry about the the liability you could face. If you do what your skills allow you to perform, then any legal course of action wouldnt bother you as long as you havent done anything negative on purpose. It would be the same for a banker or CFO, CEO, or in case of conficts of interests....Nothing against you profession, but its just to tell you how look up at your profession.

    5) Long, Costly Training - Probably the only reason as normal people we would agree that your hard and dedication and the finance spent to develop a life saving skills should be a good enough reason to accomodate a better pay scale. This is a fact that most government of most countries dont consider, quality of medicine cant be productive if the mindset of the physician doing this holy service is upset because of his finances. We all now how upseting a mindset a bad state of finance can create...we see it in our daily lives, if you wanted a better example- case in point the EU financial decline, and post 2007-08 recession
     

  10. dr atul dakare

    dr atul dakare Young Member

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    100% truth and people have to realize it...
    but bad thing is people's thinks doc life is too wonderful and doc stole money always...
    but they never seen behind story of doc life.
     

  11. Alaa Gawad

    Alaa Gawad Active member

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    This is wright when human wrights are respected
     

  12. yasmin green

    yasmin green Active member

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    I agree with you but for me money isn't everything in my life I missed special moments in my family life because im a doctor .but im still happy to go on with this job.
     

  13. Alaa Gawad

    Alaa Gawad Active member

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    I think the high paid means high to other jobs
     

  14. Ayman moustafa

    Ayman moustafa Active member

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    When a patient and his relatives thank a doctor because he was the cause of his cure ,when a mother smiles because because a doctor saved her baby's life ,it is better than money
    When a doctor practices medicine just to relief people pain regardless money,money will come soon
     

  15. Rodrick Lwando

    Rodrick Lwando Famous Member

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    No matter how much you may argue, the above thread is true.
     

  16. Rodrick Lwando

    Rodrick Lwando Famous Member

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    Ok, let me ask it in this way, in the name of loving medicine, would you continue working as a medical doc when you are being paid low? My thought is that you don't realise that you can't work in the condition of low payment because the good payments you've had so far have closed your eyes (so, you can't see the reason why you should be highly paid).
     

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