Thursday, April 29, 2010

I Shoulda Been an Astronaut

It's dead, Jim? Give me 60 credits and I'll give you a pill that will make it stick up like this

Heard an interview with a disgruntled surgeon on NPR's Marketplace yesterday as I was pulling into the Walmart parking lot. Since I was trying to remember a spark plug number and only caught the last part of the interview, I probably shouldn't comment. But I will. I find well off people whining about stuff that hasn't happened yet extremely interesting. And I don't have to put anything in context. Or even be reasonably accurate. It's a blog.

The guy is a surgeon down south somewhere and doesn't quite have that Marcus Welby attitude we like in our doctors. Some of the gripes are understandable - excessive cost of malpractice insurance and excessive court judgements. I wish the new health care legislation had addressed those. But the stuff about some undefined "agency" coming between him and his patient. I got the distinct impression he was talking about the fee structure between him and his patient. Boo fucking hoo. If it's not the government through Medicare beating him down, it's the insurance companies. But unless he's 110 years old it's not like he didn't know that going in. Doc ends the segment saying that he'd leave medicine tomorrow ( for a job that pays a minimum of 150K) and so would all his doctor buddies. I get the impression that his patients wouldn't object too strongly.

But maybe I'm being too harsh. Eight to ten years of schooling following by the constant pressure of not fucking up enough to get sued or kill someone. I'm certainly not built for that kind of work. I screw up all the time, but hey, it's just money and nobody dies. The decision to enter the medical profession should be based on more than the promise of future financial reward. And I'm sure it is initially for a lot of doctors and maybe all the bullshit regulations and bullshit people they have to deal with destroy that initial Marcus Welby (I guess most of them want to be House now but without the bad leg) feeling. I'm sympathetic.

Update: I'm less sympathetic. On the way home from work I fell in line behind an overloaded lowboy, escorted front and back. On the lowboy was a yacht or cabin cruiser of some sort. 40 or 50 feet? I dunno. It was big. Stenciled across the stern............Medicine Man.

Double update: Shit. I found the link and I just reread the interview and I realize I may have misinterpreted the good doctor. Well, more than may have - I did. My apologies - but I'm going to post anyway, striking out my more blatant errors and claim it involves a generic doctor who speaks at Tea Bagger rallies.


  1. ~lol~ Wouldn't it be funny if doctors sat at home, watching House, pouting cause their lives SO are not that cool. ~smirks~

    ... well.. except for that guy you saw with the the lowboy, yacht... thing... maybe not him.

  2. Anonymous8:29 PM

    In my experience, all the physicians who are grumbling are older and remember the old days,when you could do what you want and make money in barrels.

    Every profession has oversight and mandates. Talk to the airline pilots who have to put up with the idea of video cameras in the cockpit so they don't talk about home repairs on takeoff.

    Anyway, I have almost no sympathy for these physicians who wax philosophic about the old days.

    As I point out the these guys, they have jobs, health insurance, a paid off mortgage, and maybe a boat. With 10% unemployment, there is very little sympathy.

    Dr. Bert

  3. So, Dr. Bert, do your fellow physicians tell you to go practice medicine in Cuba where you belong? Is your wife shunned by the the other AMA wives at the cocktail parties?

  4. Anonymous10:47 AM

    I tend to avoid political talk and interaction at physician functions. However, most of the uproar is among the older physicians. The younger MDs find few issues with the reform.

    It's like the old drivers who remember when gas was 38 cents a gallon and constantly bemoan "the good old days." If all you remember is gas at $2.50 per gallon, then the current status is not so bad.

    The majority of the complaints are from those who have health insurance and want to maintain the status quo. All societies have responsibilities to provide some form of protection and help to those who have been put in untenable positions involving health care.

    And yes, I avoid all cocktails parties, and am not now, nor have I ever been a member of the AMA.