Mar 6, 2012

Hitting the ROAD*

* for Radiology, Ophthalmology, Anesthesia, Dermatology
Thanks to a rigid National Health Insurance and bundled care programs, primary care physicians are getting paid less compared to second-line doctors. A mnemonic of these are presented, but also include Rehabilitation Medicine (Physiotherapy), ENT, Urology, Radiation Oncology etc.
Back when our Dads were medical students (not mine), the 4 primary care specialties were considered the pinnacle of medicine. It was an honor to be accepted into Internal Medicine, Surgery, Pediatrics or Obs/Gyn. Now thanks to long working hours and a barrage of lawsuits, we had only one new resident for Internal Medicine last year and none for Obs/Gyn for the last 5 years.
Is medicine a very expensive retail experience or something more? Is the profession of curing the sick and alleviating illness confined to removing freckles, performing laser eye surgery, or botox injections?
Every year thousands of medical students lobby, blackmail, gerrymander, and compete unhealthily to hit the ROADs. Most of them intend to a) open their beauty clinic upon completion of training or b) earn enough for a lifetime and quit this field forever.
Where is the spirit of sacrifice so emphasized in medicine? What happened to all the promises we made on our application essay?
Does the National Health Insurance need to be held responsible for such atrocities in medicine?
And will there be enough Geriatrics, Oncologists, Cardiovascular Surgeons, or Neurologists left in 20 years to serve an aging population?
While ROAD specialties are just as important, money shouldn't be the first goal for medical professionals. We will never beat the hedge fund managers or politicians. We are only timing our own demise by hitting the ROAD with unreasonable passion.