Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Medicine Is A Lose-Lose Profession

What is a doctor to do? The environment feels increasingly hostile towards doctors and how they practice their art. The other day, the New York Times took doctors to task for overtreating patients. They trot out multiple anecdotes of patients and families who found doctors who were overmedicating their patients, performing unnecessary medical procedures, or requesting blood draws that didn't alter the course of treatment. One nonmedical genius chastised his father's two physicians for prescribing medications that caused him to display signs of dementia. Said the son, "All the medical professionals seeing him along the way, the hospital, two nursing homes and nobody thought of this." Yes sir you are smarter than the average medical doctor who has 20+ years of education.

By contrast, last month the New York Times publicly chastised and humiliated doctors for missing the sepsis the led to the death of a young Rory Staunton. Rory's family is friends with a NYT journalist so his story got special treatment. In the extremely one sided account, the reporter named names and pointed fingers at doctors for supposedly overlooking clear cut evidence of septic shock. The doctors obviously couldn't defend themselves due to potential malpractice suits that might be filed by the family. However, much of the "evidence" has been refuted by others. So before there is even an inquiry by any court or medical board hearing, the Grey Lady has already pronounced these physicians guilty as charged.

Is it any wonder that half of all doctors suffer from some degree of job burnout? Physicians have to put up with more Monday morning quarterbacking than even NFL quarterbacks. It's so easy to state after the fact that a doctor should have done something else besides what was prescribed. The internet has not made this job any easier as people bring a list of possible diagnoses to the doctor's office or ER and ask the physician to refute each possibility one by one. But if you order tests to do so, you're are wasting healthcare dollars. If you miss one of the diagnosis, you are incompetent or burned out and should have your license revoked. Makes me want to go work for Wall Street where one can lose billions of dollars on a trade and still receive bailout money from the government to keep working.


  1. Doctors still get paid very well and are highly respected. I like this blog but its gotten so negative. The mass majority of wall street gets paid a fraction of what you get paid. I can pretty much assure you, you wouldnt last minute in wall street.

  2. I like this blog but you have become too damn bitter. Doctors still make great money and are highly respected. Dont think you would make it in Wall street.

  3. Yes we get paid very well, yes we are still for the most part respected.

    But physician authority, autonomy, prestige and income have been going down as a group. That trend shows no sign of changing. It is not always where you are, but the direction that you are headed.

  4. So many people become doctors for reasons that have nothing to do with caring for patients OR curing disease. For a great many doctors, at one time they were under tremendous family pressure to become a doctor due to the culture their parents came from. I.E. The message is...Get That White Coat, my son or daughter!! All else is secondary !!