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A Medical Practice In The U.S.

My husband, who was in a pediatric practice…which is basically a GP for little people… went to work at 8 and came home about 6…the last hour finishing up chart notes and patient call-backs…with an hour off for lunch. Four days a week. At least half the day “off” was spent making hospital “rounds.”

If there was a really sick baby, eg. a premature birth in the hospital, that doctor was on “call” 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

Then each doctor in the group practice took turns taking after hours “call.” There were 5 doctors in his group. Patients could call in at all hours and on weekends free of charge. So that meant his sleep was disturbed many times during the night. It also meant he couldn’t plan much for the weekends on “call” as he had to stay near the phone.

Finally the last couple of years he “bought” out of call by taking less prorated monthly pay. Of course all the doctors shared the cost of a huge bookkeeping and managing staff and the nurses and translators. Pediatricians are among doctors who get the least pay…the joke being that you can’t charge as much for people under 3 feet tall. 😉

If a practice accepted medicare patients (and many medical groups are refusing to do this) a doctor is paid pennies on the dollar…about 70% less.
And a medical education in the U.S. costs upward of $300 to $500 thousand dollars. My husband finally paid off all his loans the last year of practice.

The happiest day of his life was the day he retired.

My son, who is an anesthesiologist, learned from his father, to be in a solo practice…works from 7am until usually 7 at night 5 and sometimes 6 days a week. He can’t refuse medicare patients because he is working for the surgeon. I worry about him.

Finally there is the issue of doctor depression and suicides, often during residencies with 24 hours “on” every other day and a punishing hazing culture in medical schools and teaching hospitals.

The health system in the U.S is criminal.

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