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Why do Doctors Make so Much Money?

Tricia Christensen
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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The amount of money doctors make is often directly proportional to the specialty they practice and where they practice it. In many industrialized regions of the world, entrepreneurial drive, raw talent and charisma might also be factors to consider when determining how doctors make so much money. For many doctors, their pay must also account for the student loans that paid for medical school, the responsibility being assumed for life after life on a daily basis, and the rising cost of malpractice insurance.

The Price of Education

Although the price of medical school can vary significantly by country, it can be quite expensive. Most doctors don’t get educated on scholarships alone, so many will need to pay a significant amount of money back in student loans. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the average cost of medical school in the United States at the beginning of the 21st century, plus living expenses, is approximately $140,000 US Dollars (USD) for a public school and $225,000 USD for private. Outside of the US, costs are often much lower.

Graduates from US public medical colleges in 2003 had a median debt of $100,000 USD, according to an Association of American Medical Colleges study, while private school graduates owed $135,000 USD. The study estimated that someone with $150,000 USD debt at 2.8% interest would be paying a $1,761 USD monthly repayment by the end of their residency.

Specialists may make more money in the long run than general practitioners do, but some specialties like anesthesiology and surgery can require as many as seven years of additional training prior to becoming board-certified. Many specialists have completed 10 or more years of post-graduate training. Though the median salary for an anesthesiologist with a few years of experience is greater than $320,000 USD, it's also likely he or she put more than 15 years into school, worked grueling hours as a resident, and accrued substantial student loans.

Doing a Difficult Job

One of the main reasons that doctors are paid as well as they are is because their services are absolutely essential. They may work long, very busy days and treat a range of people with different needs. Sometimes, a doctor's work forces him or her to make life-or-death decisions, and he or she may need to take immediate action in unexpected circumstances. While a general practitioner might not face the same intense pressure as an emergency room doctor, he or she may have to recognize and diagnose serious health problems, calm and reassure concerned patients, explain a disease or condition when it is diagnosed, and handle any unexpected problems that arise during the day. It can be a difficult and stressful job, and a mistake could cost a patient his or her life.

The respect afforded doctors in many nations, and the life-or-death decisions they regularly face, is perhaps another key reason that doctors make as much money as they do. A Harris poll in 2006 of more than 1,000 US respondents to find out which of 23 professions were considered most respected had doctors — and nurses and scientists — ranking at "very great" levels of prestige. Only firefighters ranked higher, at a median annual salary in 2010 of $45,250 USD, or $21.76 USD per hour.

Insurance Costs

Another reason doctors make so much money in some countries is to compensate for the rising cost of medical malpractice insurance. Many doctors in the United States complain of paying as much as a third of their salaries for coverage. This can make a serious dent in take-home pay.

In addition, how much a doctor makes can be affected by insurance reimbursement. In the US, Medicare and other insurers are reducing the amount of money that they pay doctors for their services, and they are expected to continue to do so. As the cost of operating a private practice increases, the doctor's salary may go down as he or she tries to balance providing quality care with covering all of his or her expenses.

How Much Do Doctors Really Make?

By many standards, doctors are well-paid professionals. The median wage for American doctors and surgeons in 2010, according to the US Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, was $80 USD an hour, or $166,400 USD a year. The agency predicted a 24% growth in the field by 2020, considered faster than average.

Only two countries pay specialists better, according to salary median data published from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) in 2004, when adjusted to account for the differing standards of living in different countries. These are the Netherlands and Australia, which both offer residents in 2011 some form of socialized health care. That year, American specialists made a median annual salary of $230,000 USD and its general practitioners made a median of $161,000 USD.

Doctors in other countries don't always make so much money. The CRS data, covering 21 western nations, showed that countries like Mexico, Poland, and Hungary have doctors making a median annual salary of no more than $27,000 USD. Those doctors wouldn't ask why doctors make so much money.

Still, on a global scale, the CRS analysis revealed that most doctors are by no means suffering on the revenue side. In 2004, specialists worldwide averaged salaries of $113,000 USD and general practitioners made $83,000 USD. By contrast, nurses globally made an average of $33,000 USD in that year.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a Practical Adult Insights contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

Discussion Comments

By anon1005672 — On Oct 22, 2021

Who writes this stuff?

These answers are quite ludicrous!

Why do doctors make so much? How about years spent in training and hundreds of thousands of dollars in education costs, costs of furnishing and maintaining an office, staff salaries, workers comp, liability, health and malpractice insurances, licensing fees, medical supplies -- on top of the hours worked! Better question is, why do people managing insurance companies make so much? Take a look at that compensation. And doctors are not reimbursed a penny for the hours spent trying to get your insurance company to authorize your care or pay for your services.

And how much do they make? These numbers are absurd. Insurers mostly determine how much a doctor will be paid and it depends on whether you are seeing a specialist or primary care, what you diagnoses are, how much time the doctor spends with you, etc., and every physician is forced to see a significant number of patients every year with no compensation whatsoever due to state and federal regulations.

Why are doctors always late? Because patients are late! And then they book to be seen for one problem and then introduce six more once they're in the office and the doctor has no background on the problem because the patient did not bother to properly book the appointment. If your doctor is usually running late, it's because he or she is a good doctor willing to overlook the patient's neglectful behavior and give whatever time is needed to treat the person.

Let's get real here. If you're gonna comment on a subject, how about actually studying it first.

By anon992207 — On Aug 22, 2015

Great article. Thanks for the info. Does anyone know where I can find a blank "2006 MD Form DR 50" to fill out?

By anon962788 — On Jul 25, 2014

It's all about supply and demand, and not so much about how hard a job is that determines the wages.

Actors earn so much because out of the pool of the human race, fewer are suited to acting compared to the amount of people working hard to become a doctor.

By anon946522 — On Apr 20, 2014

Everyone wants to pay doctors less until it is their butts on the operating table.

By anon927367 — On Jan 23, 2014

I'm a doctor. I make over 300,000 per year and I'm not ashamed of my salary. I never thought I would have made so much money per year, and I'm very grateful for that. Do I feel bad some people think I make too much? no. Do I feel bad some plumbers or electricians charge 100 per hour? Nope. To each his own. If you can make it, good for you.

Only one piece of advice to those who think doctors are in it for the money: When that day comes when you are lying on an ICU bed with a tube down your throat helping you breathe and on vasopressors to help your blood pressure keep an adequate blood supply to your brain while you've been on more than 10 meds -- some of them multiple times per day -- and each one with a possible interaction with the other one and your organs start shutting down one by one, please don't have your family tell the doctor that you thought you are in it for the money because we go home thinking about you and we eat dinner with our families thinking about you and we go to sleep thinking about you and sometimes we wake up in the middle of the night thinking about you and what to do the next day to help you stay alive and avoid the inevitable call death which will happen to all of us.

By anon359495 — On Dec 18, 2013

There is something very wrong with our society. Actors and sports players make so much money while doctors, nurses, etc. people who are out there saving lives, working extremely long hours, and quite often suffer verbal and physical abuse need to explain the amount they earn. And many of them, especially nurses, earn nowhere near enough.

Oh, and by the way, I am not in the medical field nor is anyone in my family. I believe that actors and sports players should only earn basic wages. They do no more for society than someone working in retail. We really should take a long hard look at how we treat those who make a difference.

By anon355974 — On Nov 21, 2013

It is horrible state of affairs that we are even having this conversation. It just goes to show that we live in a "me me" culture. Doctors are paid decent salaries because they spend years in education and have enormous amounts of responsibility. It is highly stressful being a doctor.

While Phd scientists do a vital job, they do not have any of the day to day responsibilities of a medical doctor. Every day a doctor has to make countless decisions, often under highly stress circumstances, many of which can often serious implications for their career if something goes wrong.

I get the impression that many of the negative comments here are by people who are jealous about the wages doctors earned, who have tried to enter medical school but failed or who have suffered some chronic illness that has not been cured and are taking it out on the doctors themselves.

By anon354075 — On Nov 05, 2013

Because they finish school with $200-300K debt. Because they spend over 100 hours a week in the hospital during training, plus studying and research outside the hospital. Because they don't start making money until they are in their 30s.

Would you want to go through that? Be thankful that people think it is all worth it to take care of those in need.

I agree, some doctors are not the best and brightest people, but they are some of the hardest working and make huge sacrifices.

How do we keep health care costs down? Stop eating so much, get out and exercise, and start taking responsibility for your health rather than relying on the ER and chemicals to keep your body in check.

By anon350503 — On Oct 05, 2013

In this entire post, I observe rationalization, justification, minimization and blaming, but no solutions.

By anon349996 — On Oct 01, 2013

What I think is that some people have no clue what it means to become a doctor. There truly is a difference in getting an undergraduate degree and a doctorate.

I do not hear anyone complaining about an attorney's salary. They put in as many years of graduate school as a physician, and no one says anything about the 300 plus dollars per hour that they charge.

If you make an investment in anything, such as the stock market or a business, and if that company is run well and people like the product, you should make a profit. You should be rewarded for the risk that you take. That is the American way of life.

There is nothing wrong with a person putting in minimal effort and receiving a regular pay wage. You get back what you put in.

So do not regulate a doctor's paycheck because you envy a nice home, or car that your doctor owns. if you do that, then you must do that to lawyers, and any other profession. Oh yeah -- I think that is called communism.

By anon344800 — On Aug 12, 2013

Concerning practice expense: Most of that expense is tax deductible.

Concerning college debt: Hello! You knew how much it would cost when you jumped in the game, son. Don't complain after the fact.

Concerning the sacrifice of time: I've read MD article after MD article that rants about how much time is sacrificed after everything is said and done. But the same authors mention how they got married, had kids, and all that jazz before finishing training. Um, if you have a spouse and kids, doesn't that mean you clearly had some form of social life? Someone was 'getting busy', and that was not 'on the clock' work!

Concerning work hours: I keep reading 60-plus hours a week, 80-plus hours a week, and so on. I hate to break it to you college bubble kids, but a lot of people in the US work 60-plus hours a week -- most of which is off the clock. I know you doc types look down at the common worker, but it isn't exactly easy for us.

Concerning lifestyle: Hell yes, you are going to continue to be in debt when you live in a $300,000 home and buy a new pricey car every five years. I've known my fair share of docs and most of them blow their pay just as quickly as a retail worker.

Final thought: I have yet to see a doctor mention nurses when this debate pops up. They put in about as many hours at times, and make nowhere near what a doctor makes, even though they handle most of the face to face interaction with patients and administer the brunt of the care. True, the doctor may perform surgery on a patient for three hours, but who ends up actually caring for that patient for days, weeks, and in some cases, months on end? The nurses.

By anon343203 — On Jul 28, 2013

Lot of posters here are sharing their feelings about how much doctors make. Some have even accused doctors of feeling "entitled" to their salaries. Market forces dictate pay, not people's "feelings" about what is "fair" or not. I don't understand why anyone complains about what others make. Salaries of various professions are not top secret information; you had that information when you chose your major!

By anon343169 — On Jul 27, 2013

Doctors charge too much for the public to afford decent health care that every human being should be entitled to. Just because a person has no money, do they deserve to die? That seems to be the dilemma in America where income, status and employment determine your worth as a human.

If you have no money for the pricey health care or insurance, you die. It's not really the doctors' fault except for those who have the attitude about it where they say give me my money. I'm entitled to it after studying so hard and racking up a great amount of debt!

But hey, why did you even study this profession in the first place? Was it to make big money and your status and six figures a year as a doctor or was it for the genuine need to help those who are ill? I think I know the American answer to that!

But again, it comes down to the highly selective process the US makes one go through to get into med school, the high costs, the pharma companies and in the end, most of these doctors cannot diagnose correctly at all.

What is needed is a more flexible admittance to med school, lower costs on the school and tests, etc., a shorter med school length and a longer residency so new doctors can get the experience they need to properly diagnose. This might drive down health care costs for the public and make the American doctors income about the same as some of the European doctors make.

By anon340889 — On Jul 06, 2013

Let me say this as a physician searching for a job. If you as the doctor won't get the money you generate, then someone else will. Doctors are like a killer whale with all the other fish trying to get a piece of the meat- ordering tests, doing surgery, taking care of patients, and producing a huge amount of money for hospitals- millions -- while they only keep a small single digit percentage of that.

Actually, all the income a hospital generates has something to do with a doctor's order. Healthcare is a multi-billion dollar industry and it all has to do with a doctor writing the order, seeing a patient, performing surgery, or supervising other physician extenders and ancillary staff. As a doctor who is $250,000 in debt, in my 30's now, and sacrificed my entire twenties living in some crappy town, working my butt off so I can get good training, I'm looking for jobs thinking "Why in the world should all these people benefit from what I've worked so hard for?" Give me my money!

By anon338723 — On Jun 17, 2013

Doctors claim they could have been tech wiz kids or Wall Street quants, and made much more money than they did during residency. Having gone through college and grad chemistry and math, I can say this argument misses one vital point. Most doctors, as pre-meds and med students, couldn't do the math and science needed for high powered tech and finance. They flail, beg, and threaten their way through pre-med, as professors (and TAs) often bend over backward to inflate grades in response. "My parents saved for my med school since I was born." "My family immigrated so I would be a doctor." And, as a former TA I can add "You're stupid. You don't understand that I got the right answer."

But don't take my word: med school textbooks should be Exhibit A, because they'd reveal the minimal degree of hard learning that occurs. Get someone besides a doctor to independently verify how many textbooks get used. Probably four. Compare the content and quantity to a biochem or engineering masters. It's a fraction.

Sorry, but doctors just ain't that smart. Their friends in biotech make more money for a few years, but soon fall behind. Yet they probably know more and are learning more than doctors. Doctors are overpaid, but not because of $150,000 tuition. What's so unusual about that amount?

They bleat about malpractice insurance premiums, forgetting that half the problem is the high rate of medical error in their profession. They pretend they're scientists and emphasize the daily reading they must do. In fact, their job is diagnostics, and they do this so poorly many would be fired as auto mechanics. Further, all professions demand daily reading.

Medical schools function as bottlenecks, preventing sufficient supplies of doctors. That keeps doctor prices up, and also lets medicine appear an incredibly selective merit based job. Sorry, but there are many identically merited applicants who don't get in to med schools. Like most over-limited product, it isn't high quality that results, but corruption and high prices.

Doctor costs fuel medical inflation. But doctors have done such a good job of branding, no one dares mention it. To do so sounds like a violation of nobility. Funny, but education is also a noble endeavor, but no one seems too concerned if teachers earn poverty wages.

By anon336486 — On May 29, 2013

You said that Obama is the worst president America ever had? I guess you forgot about Nixon and Bush.

By anon333278 — On May 04, 2013

Exactly, previous poster. Doctors are clever people and good at protecting their interests as a group. The regulated intake keeps salaries up.

It'd be easier to respect the high salaries if they were earned on a level playing field with other professions, but they are not. It is not determined by supply and demand. Obviously not. Anyway, let them enjoy their boats and houses, some of it goes back into the economy I guess.

By anon323117 — On Mar 03, 2013

I am a patient who has heard repeatedly from doctors an attitude of selfishness and entitlement, which are the first things that will destroy a patient's health.

The patient should always come first without having to hear this talk about money and offense when spoken negatively about. Those doctors are doing the public a grave disservice when that attitude is present. You should not be in the practice with that attitude. Better to not have doctors like them around.

I suggest those doctors out there with those attitudes should stop whining, get out of the way, get a job that pays more and let a doctor who is true to the oath take their place. There are enough doctors out there who really care about their patients.

By anon322427 — On Feb 27, 2013

I'm a first year part-time internal medicine "attending" and doing a fellowship (so no, I'm not your 1 percent).

Want real numbers? Here's my case. I owed $280K, all in student loans. I was lucky that I have very supportive parents who paid for most of my college tuition. So mostly that's from med school.

My friends who went into computer programming (one of my passions when I was younger) started to work right after college, and seven years later, are making close to six figures. On average, at $75K a year (starting in the 50s, now low 100s) times seven equals $525K.

I made $50K in three years (residency), which equals $150K. While in residency, my $280K in loans accumulated another $40K of interest.

Math time. Negatives: 280 plus 40 equals $320K (4.5 percent interest, and you'd be lucky to get that now). Positives: $150K. While my friends are $525K on the positive side. This is a difference of $525K (-320+150). Even if I don't eat, live and sleep (rent) and don't pay Uncle Sam, I'm still $695K behind my friends who went into the technology sector. When someone pays off my tuition, then we can talk about how much more I make compared to everyone else.

In summary, I am behind my friends who chose to do a tech job for the last seven years --$700K behind, and if I do another fellowship, I'm easily 1 million dollars behind.

I can choose to do a lot of things. As doctors, we are not a bunch of dummies. I chose a noble profession, because I could.

When people sit there and tell me that I make more than everyone else and I charge too much, I take great offense to that. To PhD's, sorry, the responsibility level is not even comparable. Your tuition is free, and you get stipends when you're in school. And CEO's making millions? That is something I cannot get my head around.

By anon320833 — On Feb 19, 2013

I made no money for years training then after struggling a few years more, was finally able to survive in private general practice. I don't make anywhere near the amount cited in the article, but costs are high in Southern California. You put in an enormous amount of work, make great sacrifices to earn the privilege of practicing medicine, while the suspicious general public accuse doctors of being overpaid, motivated only by greed.

I tell you, whatever you do, how would you feel if you were told that what you do is my right, that I am entitled to the fruits of you labor, the very hours of your life?

How would you want to be asked how you would dare to want to be paid more than someone in some foreign society (as if that even is comparable) or in some other occupation. Oh, you are a secretary? We need secretaries. I have a right to a secretary. Think of the contribution you make to society. That should be enough for you, secretary, but if you must get paid, why should you get paid more than a fast food worker? Why should American secretaries be paid more than a secretary in Mali?

So many people have not the slightest clue what a physician gives up in sleep, vacation, free time, personal relations, personal health, and length of life. Medicine takes over the lives of those who practice it.

By anon320317 — On Feb 16, 2013

Doctors "make" a lot because of lawyers; doctors don't get to make any of the rules. Malpractice insurance, pharmaceutical companies, regulations from your insurance companies - these are the reason why everything cost so much. Doctors don't make much money in hand after these expenses are deducted.

By anon319575 — On Feb 13, 2013

Because they don't care that you're poor. All they care about is getting rich.

By anon313430 — On Jan 11, 2013

Why aren't physicians required to post prices? What happened to competition /capitalism in the medical field?

By anon312066 — On Jan 05, 2013

I think doctors get paid a lot in the USA too, and it is due to a shortage of physicians. In many European countries, physicians make less but still are happy.

I think by reducing medical school costs, and by training more dentists and physicians, the doctor's salaries can be lowered.

I know the majority of medical students choose to study medicine because they are interested. Even in countries that pay less to physicians, still many people want to pursue medicine.

By anon311225 — On Dec 30, 2012

These so called doctors should be on low wages. I've had an unusual illness for 20 years, and their behavior is disgusting. They have no manners, cruel comments when things are not written down in front of them and they don't know what to do. I had to research my problems myself several times and then push the idiot doctor to see the specialist I wanted and guess what? The specialists believed me, no problem. They have no clue and the ethics and childishness of a 12 year old bully.

By anon292646 — On Sep 21, 2012

Funny how many people will begrudge highly trained MDs who have literally sacrificed years of their lives for their incomes, but say nothing about NBA athletes, or so-called "musicians" and "actors".

If any of you had to complete a human anatomy course with lab, and all of the requisite chemistry, organic chemistry, etc., to become as highly trained and specialized as MDs are, only to be treated like dirt by patients and poorly compensated relative to the amount of time and effort which goes into earning an MD, then perhaps you'd have one shred of actually understanding why MDs make decent salaries.

Most people are too lazy or incompetent to do the course work, but then begrudge MDs who did. But they're happy to pay $100 for NFL tickets, I'm sure.

By anon285303 — On Aug 15, 2012

It's not true that doctors make more money. Compare doctors to illiterate entertainment industry, and you will realize that doctors earn less money after hard studies and dealing with difficulties.

By anon285195 — On Aug 14, 2012

There is the doctor's guild called the AMA which controls the number of seats in the medical colleges.

By controlling the number of new doctors in the economy the medical profession is able to "extract rent" (in economicspeak).

That is why so many doctors from third world countries come to the USA in spite of humiliating re-evaluations.

By anon278187 — On Jul 04, 2012

Insurance companies overcharge the medical industry on malpractice. They make 26 percent more profit then their casualty loss insurance. Fewer and fewer cases enter the court.

It is interesting that there were 107 medical professionals just arrested for defrauding medicare out of $470 million dollars. There are crooks in all industries. That is the cost of one jet fighter, so I guess the defense contractor are even bigger crooks with their lobbyists who buy off your congressmen. We need to start enforcing laws and start sending these people to jail and bring back integrity.

By anon268158 — On May 12, 2012

I'm a doctor, completing my 6th and final year of training this year. All I can say is that the sense of entitlement from patients, lack of appreciation and respect from the general public, and declining compensation have definitely made me regret my decision. That's not why I entered the profession, but compound that with the constant fear of malpractice lawsuits, and I've had enough of this garbage.

Some of my friends quit the medical track while in college with me; they went to finance, make millions per year, work less than I do, and generally have more time with their family. I'm already working on my exit strategy.

I graduated no. 1 in high school, summa cum laude at college, and was in the top 25 percent of my medical school class, similar to my wife. None of my kids will be doing medicine. I guarantee you will continue to see a shift in talent away from medicine unless something changes, which is improbable.

By anon260892 — On Apr 12, 2012

Understand that medicine is a business first. "Doctors" are businessmen who "help" you so they can over bill the government (in Canada) at every opportunity. They prey on the sick and create barriers to entry. It's a great little gig they have for themselves. As soon as you accept that they are after money first and foremost, you will truly understand what they are.

By anon257514 — On Mar 27, 2012

Entrepreneurial engineers are amongst the richest people in the world. Please check the academic backgrounds of people on the 2011 Forbes rich list. Of the top 10 richest in 2011, six studied engineering (two dropped out of engineering studies). Doctors earn good salaries, but has anyone heard of a billionaire medical doctor?

By anon251412 — On Feb 29, 2012

Doctors make so much because they prey on people when they are most vulnerable. They try to rationalize their greed with stories about the demands of the job, the rigor of the training and the cost of the education. Why does medical training cost so much? Because physicians realized that if medical training was affordable, more doctors would be trained, competition would result and prices would go down.

They have worked hard to get the government to erect barriers to entry, drive up the cost of medical education and lobby for the elimination of any reasonable control on their greedy pricing practices. Many, many physicians are at their core little more than greedy money grubbing gold diggers and they get so upset when people recognize that character flaw.

I once read when physicians as a group were upset that the public viewed them in this light and conducted a study at great cost to find ways to change the public opinion. It really is very easy. If you don't act like a greedy, money grubbing, gold digger chances are you won't be viewed as one. So the real goal they had in mind was how to convince everyone that weren't what they really are.

There are some very generous, compassionate, caring physicians. It is so sad that their fellow doctors smear the reputation of the good ones out there.

By anon250002 — On Feb 23, 2012

Dentists make a lot more money with lower risks and better hours than doctors. Go and grip about them first before you start on doctors. And what about people working in Finance!

By anon250000 — On Feb 23, 2012

The salaries here are posted comes after many years of stressful training and successful passing of board exams. No one says anything about how little the doctors get paid during their intern and resident years, even though they work really long hours.

By anon249999 — On Feb 23, 2012

@anon23743: Lawyers affect life just as doctors do? Hah. Compared to machines, humans are highly complex, and diseases may show themselves uniquely and each human responds to treatment differently. So your X-ray, CT scans, ECG output comes in a tremendous variety of shapes. Please learn how much doctors have to study to be specialists in these before talking.

You are suggesting people self-diagnose these diseases. Do you know that even doctors should not self-prescribe? Simple example: if many people self-diagnose themselves and prescribe an antibiotic or antiviral that they don't need, then this will eventually cause a major public hazard. Pathogens will become resistant and no antibiotics will work for them.

People tend not to be so objective when they are treating themselves or close loved ones and these mistakes will definitely show.

It is so obvious that you know very little about medicine after all. Medicine is not all about you getting a sore throat. One day we will be really old and may get really sick. That would be hard to manage. You can just go to a medical book store and look at some disease cards based on patient history to study and you will see how complicated they get.

By anon249129 — On Feb 20, 2012

In Canada, my wife makes over 800K per year. One of her colleagues billed over 1 million. It's called fee-for-service. If you spend 15 years in school, and work in a highly specialized area of medicine, no amount of money is enough, My wife has saved countless lives. Put a price tag on that.

By the way, why such hate for doctors making $1M per year, when a sports celeb makes 10 times that, and no one comments.

By anon247143 — On Feb 13, 2012

Wow. So much hate for doctors out there. Entitlement ideals are rampant out there. You pay people who have the most value to you, which is why doctors get paid the most.

The real reason why your medical bills are so high is because of ridiculous lawsuits and scumbag lawyers that have no real economical value (I do recognize the fact that they protect freedom) especially when they file crap lawsuits. How about everyone go and complain about how lawyers file class action lawsuits and profit off a sizable portion of the money and the people who actually deserve the money end up with little to none of the money that they deserve?

By anon246915 — On Feb 11, 2012

@anon246786: It's pinky lee -- or not. I'm the one who jacked up the "body repair" poster. Just wanted you to know many, many people appreciate their doctors. My mom was a lab tech in a doctor's office her whole life, so I understand about dealing with people, and what doctors face.

I appreciate you, and everything you do. I appreciate the surgeon who took the right lobe of my thyroid to remove a nodule. I appreciate the pathologist who analyzed it (Hashimoto's thyroiditis), the anesthesiologist and every pair of hands who helped care for me. I even wrote the hospital administrator a letter, expressing my thanks and appreciation for the staff.

I appreciate you. I couldn't do what you do. I don't begrudge good doctors a penny of their salaries. You do what I cannot do. Thank you.

By anon246786 — On Feb 11, 2012

What am I doing here at 5 AM? I started medical school in 1990 (22 years ago). This crap took 22 precious years of my life and I can't have them back. I wish there was a way to turn back the clock, but there isn't!

The person here who brags how smart he is that he would have no trouble being a "body repairman" has no idea what he is talking about!

Forget about the long hours, days, and years of studying, being on call, dealing with all kind of dumb hospital staff, feeling so tired that you can't pull your body off the bed, and then having people left and right yell at you when something bad, or even inconvenient, happens! That has all been emphasized by other comrade seasoned clinicians above.

How about losing your humanity, your innocence, your sensitivity to human suffering? You have to distance yourself emotionally to survive. You are never the same person again. It's like folks who have been to war and seen its horrors! You even become incapable of sympathizing with your loved ones when they are sick because you are used to patients whining all day about all kinds of stupid things, including how your nurse or receptionist needs to be sensitive to their needs!

I will not have my kids be doctors. It is just not worth i.

And FYI, just in case you are curious, I am not a mediocre, run of the mill, physician. I am an academic physician who does investigative work on hematologic malignancies. Feel free to google that if you don't know what it means!

By anon243645 — On Jan 28, 2012

I guess that must mean that the people who are educating our children and creating the future doctors of tomorrow must be sitting firmly in the lower class with their piddly wages.

By anon242677 — On Jan 24, 2012

@anon242419: And that is equally incorrect to take Einstein and make a generalization about others.

By anon242419 — On Jan 23, 2012

Also reading further down, I'd like to point out that the suggestion that the best scientists or engineers will go to medicine is a bit crazy.

Since Einstein's name is floating around a lot, I might point out that he didn't actually become a physicist because the salary compared to cost happened to be more economical at the time. The people who are really smart don't care about the same stupid stuff that the rest of us do.

By MudFudEng — On Dec 20, 2011

@anon233944: I agree with most of your comment, except that I wasn't trying to slight the intelligence of physicians (since I'm on track to become one myself!). Medical doctors are a smart bunch but there is enough overlap between the IQ ranges of MDs with professions like professor/engineer/physicist/CEO that the differences are probably not statistically significant. One also has to acknowledge that there are different types of intelligence.

A physicist with a very high fluid intelligence but low verbal intelligence may be bested in overall score by an MD who is more balanced but not necessarily higher in one or more categories of intelligence. Part of the reason is because the selection process for picking future MDs not only discriminates based on academic performance, but also on communication/verbal skills and "non-cognitive" traits that can have prognostic impact on IQ assessment.

By anon233944 — On Dec 09, 2011

@MudFudEng: Good points MudFud, but don't slight the intelligence of a physician too much. For fun, I looked up IQ by profession, and in every study physicians were convincingly first. However, that probably has a lot to do with the financial incentive to practice medicine.

I think that the supply and demand factor is cooked, as you say, by medical colleges. Is that such a bad thing though? I like knowing that my physician is going to be an intelligent, capable individual. I mean for hell's sake, professional athletes make millions a year to toss a ball through a hoop. At the end of their career, could they really name an individual that they helped? Probably not. A physician saves lives. That's heroic. They deserve their money.

By anon233353 — On Dec 05, 2011

@MudFudEng: Hats off! As per my opinion you are absolutely correct and honest, compared to the other hypocrites who took that oath.

So let's get back to some basic questions. What does the society get by letting the hypocrites control the supply of the physicians?

What's wrong with doing the following three things? What's so bad, that will happen to the society by doing the following?

1. No first degree shall be needed to enter into the medical college.

2. The physician supply shall be controlled by the law of supply and demand.

3. During residency the payment shall be a minimum of 60,000 (compared to the starting salary of any other four year degree).

By MudFudEng — On Dec 03, 2011

Hehe. Reading these comments makes me laugh. So much angst and froth going back and forth between groups with clearly passionate (but sometimes misinformed) views.

Do I think physicians are overpaid? Not as a group. Perhaps there are some specialties that are too well compensated for the work they do, but that's mostly the fault of the fee-for-service arrangement we have. Specialties that make their bread and butter off fast, repetitive procedures tend to fetch more. The introduction of more advanced technologies (yes, developed in most cases by non-MDs) have facilitated this in areas like radiology and ophthalmology.

A bit of disclosure: I am a medical student, but distinguished from most of my classmates because I also have an engineering background and a PhD in biomedical engineering; hence I have a unique vantage on the arguments presented within the forum.

From my perspective, and from my knowledge of friends who are practicing docs, doctors deserve the pay they get because they invest so much on the front end. Years and years of training and long, hard hours doing work that is often unpleasant and physically/emotionally taxing. Do doctors have to know a lot? You bet. There's a mountain of stuff to know, and you need to know the details because it might come in handy when making that differential diagnosis of a rare, deadly condition that presents like the flu, for example. You also have to be a great communicator and team player (and manager in some cases) in order to liaise with patients, their families, and other health care team members to provide the best overall care to patients.

Now, that being said, do you need to be a genius to be a doc? No. Above-average intelligence with a good memory and attention for detail would come in handy. In my opinion, medical school isn't as difficult as learning engineering. The concepts in engineering were more abstract and the material quantitatively more rigorous (by far). But volume-wise there's a ton more factual knowledge in medicine that in a given field of engineering (unless you do a PhD, perhaps, like me). I considered a lot of my classmates in engineering to be smarter than me, and a lot went off to become very successful at what they did (e.g. nanotech prof, biomedical engineer at GE, robotics engineer at JPL, hedge-fund 'quant' (quantitative analyst) to name a few).

As for research, lots of MDs do research in the health care field. Lots of MDs also don't. That comes down to preference and training. I'll likely end up in research because I happen to enjoy research and I have the extra PhD training. The same can be said of engineering. There are R&D engineers doing high-tech research because that's what they've geared themselves to become, and then there are engineers who prefer the 9 to 5 desk job at your local manufacturing plant. Again, it's individual preference and training.

Why do physicians get better pay on average than engineers? Partly because of what I said earlier about length of training and the fee-for-service arrangement, but also because the professional colleges and entities that look out for physicians' interests have guarded the profession very well, tightly controlling physician supply and ensuring that pay levels are maintained. (Engineering professional bodies, take note.) This is not the case in most other countries (including Europe) where physicians are salaried and earn about the same as other professions, despite working longer hours than the rest.

So as a future physician in North America, I can count myself lucky to know that although I'll train and work very hard, I'll still be reasonably compensated for my efforts.

By anon230892 — On Nov 21, 2011

Are you kidding? My husband has worked his heart out for 16 years and is about to leave medicine. It is so depressing that people continue to think doctors are rich (I've got a disability so sadly, no one will give me a job. His is thus our only income for a family of six).

After all the practice costs - and working 80 hour weeks- and taking after hours calls - his pre-tax salary was $75k(AUD)

I used to work in banking. This amount is ludicrous for all their incredible hard work and responsibility.

By Michael Del — On Nov 04, 2011

I'm not quite following the Phd. student's post regarding M.D.'s and research. You do not believe M.D.s participate in research? I had to publish twice to get into a cardiology fellowship, and I will probably have to publish again in order to be competitive for an interventional fellowship thereafter.

A mentor of mine, Dr. Lynch M.D. at the Creighton recently described familial nonpolyposus colorectal cancer from microsatellite instability in the genome, one of the greatest breakthroughs in the past few decades. How do you think a physician knows that thrombolytic therapy is indicated for a myocardial infarction, but too dangerous for unstable angina? How do you think that physician knows to send you to the catheter lab for balloon angioplasty? Research done by M.D.s.

In summary, you don't know what the hell you're talking about.

By anon224867 — On Oct 24, 2011

In all those countries doctors get paid less, so too do engineers, lawyers, teachers, and most other profession. Recently, the BBC released a report about the highest paying jobs in the UK. Medicine (a specialty) ranked second behind being a CEO. So how can the Brits, the French, and Canadians do their health care well but here in the US we can't? People should be able to enroll in med school after high school and not require a bachelors degree. Who cares if a physician is more well rounded? Let them do their job, medicine, and whatever.

By anon222402 — On Oct 15, 2011

Pinky Lee -both you and me:

You said:

"I said *many* physicians do research. And you're right: most physicians who have a regular practice don't do much research because they don't have time."

I don't know what that statement means. Using "many" and "most" for two counter arguments does not do much good for you point.

Anyway, this is my point, hope it will be clear:

Medical researchers are a subset of medical field. Physicians are another subset of medical field. There is a very little intersection too. So that intersection set involved in both treatments and research.

But trying to use "Most", "Many" terms to refer to that intersection set is not a very genuine attempt in my personal opinion.

Of course William Harvey did research and maybe little clinical treatments too in 17th century. And Raymond Damadian in our century too did research (Sure you know who is Raymond Damadian. Google it, you will see who he is, in case you don't know. No offense). Saying "Many" (the term you used) of the 300,000 Physicians in USA are doing the same thing such as what William Harvey or else Damadian or else your St. Jude does is an utter disgrace to those noble people.

You do not have to agree with me. You may keep your opinion. In the same way I have a right to keep my opinion too, in what I believe.

Thank you.

PS: There are no several meanings to doctor when that term refers to physicians. It has one meaning. Its "repair." No hatred.

You may be surprised to hear that just a century ago (not too long) in UK in Edinburgh University, they stole the doctor term from researchers (that's what jealousy is). From that time onwards dictionary got a synonym for repair.

Even though the term was stolen, the work you do is still the same.

Don't worry. To your surprise, I'm also in the path of turning my sail to become a body repairmen or else a physician, or else a doctor.

The term you use doesn't matter. This is a noble profession. Whether you become a noble physician or not is up to you. Depends on how you do your job. Usually the people who go after this Doctor term are not genuine to their profession.

In my life I want to treat at least one patient for free. That will give me the best satisfaction. First I have to turn my sail from where it's heading.

By anon220119 — On Oct 05, 2011

Who is the engineer that keeps posting anonymously? You must be overworked/underpaid indeed, being as you have the time to frequent this site 40 times in a given week. If you had the intelligence or aspirations to practice medicine, than you should have practiced medicine. The blogging world suits you better.

By anon219962 — On Oct 04, 2011

@anon219733: No, actually, I called *you* Pinky Lee. I said, "To you from me, Pinky Lee." If I'd been referring to myself, I'd have said "To you from me: Pinky Lee," or "To you from me. Signed Pinky Lee." It was a movie quote used as a colloquial statement. A figure of speech. You didn't get it, but that's fine. And call me Pinky Lee if you want to. I don't care.

Now wait a minute. As we Americans say, you're talking out of both sides of your mouth. You say research is the most important thing physicians can do and when I pointed out there are lots and lots of researchers who are physicians, and cited St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital as a clear, verifiable example, that doesn't count to you? That's suddenly not relevant? I'd hazard a guess that most of the researchers at St. Jude's have published research in any number of relevant academic journals.

You asked for an example. Here's one. Fred G. Behm, M.D., from St. Jude's, published research findings titled "Pediatric Lymphoblastic Leukemia by Gene Expression Profiling."

Cancer Cell 2002 Mar;1(2):109-10.

So there's one. I never said all physicians do research. And I never said you never did any research, either. If you have a publication, of course you've done it. You're deliberately misconstruing my meaning, I'm afraid. I said *many* physicians do research. And you're right: most physicians who have a regular practice don't do much research because they don't have time. My former endocrinologist had a couple thousand patients. So no, he didn't have a lot of time to do research. However, he wasn't chasing the almighty dollar, either. In fact, he switched from nephrology to endocrinology because he wanted to help people lead healthier lives, and I am living proof he helped me do that.

So, all the millions of children who are alive because of the research at St. Jude's don't matter? Ask their families. I'm sure they would beg to differ. But because the research isn't in the field you prefer, it's useless knowledge, useless research, a waste of time? What -- all those children should have just died and "decreased the surplus population?"

Sure, some doctors believe they're gods. So do some teachers, some engineers (I know a few who do), a lot of lawyers and, in fact, most professions have members who have god complexes. Some are more populated with them than others.

And you've got to be kidding to say the smartest people shouldn't be doctors! I *want* my doctor to be the smartest one! That means he knows what he's doing. But considering the aeronautical and astrophysical research and development that is being done in the U.S. right now, I'd hardly say we are victims of brain drain. And those astrophysicists do very, very well for themselves, income wise.

Are there bad doctors? Sure. There are poor examples in every profession, including engineering.

And by the way, I know very well what the word "repair" means, and I'm pretty sure I clearly understand the context in which you're using it -- and it isn't complimentary. I get the strong impression you are deliberately using that particular verb to reduce what physicians do to a bare minimum field of expertise

And I am also quite well aware that God created humans. And He also gave humans the knowledge and capabilities to help their fellow man, and medicine is *one* way to do that.

So you want to know about people coming up with new inventions and other research work? Well, let's see. How about: Microsoft, Apple, Boeing, Airbus, Advanced Technologies, Inc., the Aerospace Research Laboratory at the University of Virginia, Sigmatech, Inc., Engineering Research and Consulting, Inc., the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (they predict hurricanes and severe weather), and literally, thousands of other companies. I mention the ones based primarily in the U.S. (except Airbus, obviously), since I'm more familiar with these. Each of these companies employs hundreds of researchers, engineers and technicians and they all make very nice salaries. And there are plenty of "Einsteins" employed by these firms. They're not "all in a corner."

So, while your opinion that physicians make too much money may be true in some cases, trying to say that no one is doing research any longer, or that no one is in the inventing business because they're all in medicine is just not correct! There are too many thousands of companies employing researchers and engineers in every field of the biological, physical and technological sciences for that argument to be remotely credible. And I'll remind you: this is coming from someone not in the medical profession, so it isn't as though I have some kind of personal or vested interest in making this argument. And here's something else: the number of students going into medicine the U.S. has been dropping for the last 20 years or so, because of the number of years of study required, the long hours, and the high cost of malpractice insurance and maintaining a practice. Perhaps it will be all for the best when we're all reduced to consulting witch doctors for our medical needs because everyone is going into other fields. To quote Dickens again, "If we're going to die, we'd better do it and decrease the surplus population."

I said it before: It's a more productive use of your time, and mine, to concentrate on making our parts of the world better places. Peace.

By anon219733 — On Oct 03, 2011

@ Pinky Lee (You called yourself Pinky Lee. See at the end of your previous post please. I just used that rather than anon).

Sorry If I offended you. Not intentionally, just wanted to stress my point.

Firstly, I saw your point related to research that physicians do. I do not know what's done in Memphis. In fact I do not want to know, because I'm not narrowing down here to the physicians at Memphis. I'm talking about the majority of physicians in the world!

Tell me how many physicians in this world has at least a single journal under their name as the first author, second author or any author, for you to claim that they do research. Tell me please. I need the answer to that.

What about my family doctor, what about all the family doctors, what research are they doing, what research have they done?

I myself have done research and have publications under my name. But my doctor has nil.

So you are saying he is doing research and I'm not.

I don't think there is any use of talking about physicians' research. It's useless and a waste of time to prove that point.

If you still say they do research, please give me the link to their publications. If you want to see the research that professors do, go to their websites and click on publications. In simple terms, you can't do research while going after money from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Not in this world!

By the way: The term "Repair" I use for physicians' work, is not something I invented. It's there in the dictionary. Please have a look.

Every repair work needs diagnosis. So diagnosing something does not mean he is not doing repair work.

Physicians don't create humans. God created them. So please tell them not to act our creators! Their job is to repair us when we break!

If speaking that truth is arrogant, then let it be. If speaking that truth is jealousy, then let it be.

Physicians are doing repair work and that is a fact

(that's why repair is a synonym for doctor). They can be glorified repairers. It doesn't matter. As long as what they are doing is fixing some broken thing, it's pure repair.

That is not to say the present physicians are idiots. In the US they are the smartest set of people

However my whole point in this thread is: The smartest set of people should not be doing physicians' work. They should be doing the research. They are doing that repair work, because of the sky high, unparalleled amount of money coming in.

Then what's the result? Brain drain!

Who is left to do the inventions, research work?

That's why I said, the Einsteins of our generation are repairing limbs in a corner! Please get it.

Thanks. No any intentional offense to anyone.

By anon218805 — On Sep 30, 2011

I am very comfortable with what my physician gets paid. Why the hell would anyone 20 years post high school training if it were not financially rewarding? We need to stop pretending that physicians are Jesus Christ and realize that they are people, cut from the same exact cloth as any other professional. If it was not financially worth it they would choose another profession that allows them to enter the work force before their 40's.

By anon218712 — On Sep 30, 2011

@anon218701: I'm the one you called "Pinky Lee." You didn't understand a word of my post, did you? You didn't even *see* what I said about the *research* that has been done in Memphis that has helped millions of children survive leukemia, as one example? Apparently, it didn't get through at all.

Plus, you don't know me. You think I'm a doctor? Think again. I got my degree in English, not medicine. I don't work in the medical profession. My mom did, but not as a doctor -- as a lab technician.

I believe I also said I greatly respect all those who earn an honest living, whether they are researchers or engineers, doctors or ditch diggers. But you didn't read that part, did you? I didn't think so.

And yes, I know exactly who Nikola Tesla was. We have him to thank for many of our modern innovations, just as we have the space program to thank for much of the technology that has been used to produce many modern miracles of medicine, transportation and architecture. The fact that Tesla died alone and impoverished is certainly sad, considering his contributions. But that hasn't happened to all researchers, by any means. To some, of course, but saying it has happened to all of them is an extreme exaggeration and does nothing to support your points.

I am not wealthy, by any means. I live paycheck to paycheck. I don't have a fancy car. I drive a modest Ford, not a luxury vehicle. I rent a small house that needs painting. I am blessed to have a job that provides good health insurance. But I don't get paid as much as most people do who have a four-year degree.

You *really* need to stop making assumptions about people without carefully reading and understanding what they write.

Oh-- and that health care that the UK and France have? It's not as wonderful as you think it is, and I have that straight from a British subject, who still lives there. Plus, that free health care is about to bankrupt both countries.

I'll agree with you that health care is a necessity, however.

In any case, if you don't completely understand what someone is writing about, you don't need to make assumptions about them. You obviously didn't completely comprehend what I wrote, and I am offended that you might have thought I was so pitifully ignorant that I didn't know who Tesla was.

No, I'm not a doctor. I am also not so narrow-minded that I can't see that it takes a lot of people doing a lot of different jobs to keep this old world turning. I thank the researchers, doctors, engineers and everyone who contributes their time and talents to make this world a better place, whatever their occupations.

Instead of yowling about how much doctors are, or are not overpaid, how about we both make the choice to make our little corners of the world better places? Peace be with you.

By anon218705 — On Sep 29, 2011

In the USA, health care is a luxury a person can have.

What a pity it is.

To have a good health care, you need to have a good insurance. To have good insurance you need to be wealthy.

Thus, in this country, health care is a luxury a person can have. Take UK, or France. There, it's not. Over there health care is considered a need, not as a luxury.

C'mon med students, how pitiful is this?

By anon218702 — On Sep 29, 2011

Jitan Akwal said: "No, American doctors are not paid too much. "

Tell me at least one person who said he is getting enough?

By anon218701 — On Sep 29, 2011

@Pinky Lee: Continued from my previous post:

Just one example to open your eyes. Do you know how Tesla died? (I hope you know who Tesla is Thanks to him you have electricity today).

In a motel, without anyone by his side! He didn't have mansions. He didn't have the most luxurious vehicles.

Is that right what society did to him? This is what happened to all the researchers in the past, and happening today, and will happen in the future too.

I know you pay a lot of money even at this moment for your so precious medical degree. So you wish to have that good ROI. I do not blame you. It's the nature of the man to fight for his course.

But please be honest with yourself at least for a second.

By anon218700 — On Sep 29, 2011

@ Pinky Lee said: "When I had thyroid surgery earlier this year, I suppose you could call it "repair work,"...

I would say first thank the researcher who discovered all those procedures which those two carried out. Thanks to them (researchers) that surgeon and anesthesiologist and we all live today. Without thanking them properly, without treating them properly mentioning the surgeon is just cruelty and opportunism.

They did those discoveries, not for some set of people to make it a business and have sky high salaries and make health care a luxury item, but for the whole general public to benefit.

By Jitan Akwal — On Sep 27, 2011

No, American doctors are not paid too much. If anything, physicians in other countries are underpaid, granted they work half the hours and have a free education. The inflation adjusted income for an American physician has declined by 10 percent since the late 90’s. Medical school applications are down 20 percent since then, despite the growth of our population. Are you sure that attacking your M.D.’s compensation is the course you want to pursue in curbing health care costs?

Here are some things that people do not understand. Unlike a lawyer or dentist, our professional school lasts eight years. You would fail the medical curriculum without a four year background in physics, chemistry, genetics and biology from college. It’s an impossible amount of information to assimilate without a long history of science exposure.

Unlike our other professional counterparts, we do not get to enter the workforce making an immediate six digits immediately after school. We then enter residency (training) which can last as long as eight years. Depending on the area, you might then have to complete a two year fellowship. Residency is characterized by an 80 hour work week (the legal limit established by the AAMC) with a teacher’s salary.

As a medical student, I have already missed the first two years of my son’s life. I don’t know how I am going to juxtapose a family and career after I graduate, because the worst is yet to come. Thereafter, I get to fill out a lot of paperwork and fight with insurance companies over claims, and then listen to people like you complain about how over-compensated I am working 55 hours/week. I'm entering the field of radiology, and radiologists make around 410k/year, and I'm *still* not sure it will be worth it. Did I mention that I will graduate with about 300 k in debt? Did I also mention the stress of our job? When we screw up people die.

Second, it’s unfair to compare American physician’s salaries to those in other countries because this is like comparing an apple and an orange. The USMLE (American Boards) is the gold standard throughout the world for medical education. Because American physicians are compensated well, the cream of the crop apply to work in the United States. Only the best foreign students take the USMLE, and about 60 percent pass, compared to a 95 percent pass rate amongst American students. You cannot have less school, shorter training in residency, half the compensation, and expect better physicians. That should be obvious.

Yes, health care outcomes in other countries are comparable to the US. However, we treat the fattest, most unhealthy people on earth. Glenn Beck, though a nutjob, had it right: “the kings of the earth come here for their care.” Anyone with discretionary spending comes to the United States. I get so tired of the small, yet growing minority of Americans who complain about what we get paid.

You just don’t understand. It’s an extremely difficult and long road, and there are a lot easier ways to acquire wealth. We do it because we want to help others. But you have to be realistic.

An engineer's training, stress, education pales in comparison and so should their salary, and you know it. Get rid of the chip on that shoulder.

By anon214135 — On Sep 13, 2011

@anon213896: In spite of you remaining anonymous, all of your comments are pretty obvious, since they follow a particular theme.

You have no idea how much research is being done by medical doctors every day in the U.S., on every kind of disease. I suggest you check out St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. It's one of the largest research hospitals in the world, and no child is ever turned away because of their parents' inability to pay. Because of this one facility, the most common childhood cancers, like ALL, have had their cure rates soar from about 40 percent to well over 95 percent -- in just 60 years or so. So the research is being done. Sounds like you need to do a little, as well.

I would never denigrate the job engineers do. They put the Space Shuttle up, for heaven's sake! And you know what? As someone who lives 25 miles from the cradle of the U.S. space program, Huntsville, AL, I know a whole bunch of engineers -- people who have worked on the programs you hear about on television, like the Space Shuttle, the Patriot Missile program, the Space Station, the Copperhead missiles, the Delta IV rockets, the Aries program, etc. I'm even related to a few. I can tell you that not one of them is so arrogant that they would say a medical doctor's work is only "repair" work. And the vast majority of these people make very, very, *very* good salaries. Much more, in fact, than my dad made, who was only a special education teacher in a middle school.

Repair work, huh? O.K. Maybe you can make that argument for stitching up a wound or setting a bone, but anyone can also get on a computer and type a blog. The question is: can you do it properly? If it were only repair work, everybody and their brother could do it. It's extremely specialized repair work, and I certainly can't do it.

What about diagnosis? A doctor can't just follow a flow chart to an obvious diagnosis every time. He or she sometimes has to look at a number of seemingly minor, or unrelated, symptoms, to come up with the proper diagnosis, so the proper treatment -- or "repair work" in your eyes -- can be initiated. The doctor must know what kinds of medication are appropriate for a condition, or for a particular patient. This is not Sesame Street stuff. Again, if it were, anyone could do it and do it successfully. Anybody could buy an X-ray machine and set up shop. But you have to know what they're doing, and, among other things, a patient is paying for expertise they don't have. Personally, I don't mind doing that.

When I had thyroid surgery earlier this year, I suppose you could call it "repair work," but my mechanic/surgeon saved my voice, since he made certain he didn't damage my vocal cords, and my anesthesiologist made sure I woke up from the procedure, since she had to know exactly what she was doing. Maybe it was just simple repair work, but he had to know where he was cutting, how deep he was cutting, and what to leave, as much as what to take out. It's not all homogenous hamburger in there, you know. He had to know not to nick the nerve in my throat, he knew how to cut to leave the smallest scar. Since I love to sing, this was important to me. I sure as hell wouldn't let you carve around on my thyroid, in spite of the fact it's just "repair work." You don't know what you're doing in that arena. He did. I wouldn't let you put me to sleep, either, even though that's repair work, too. I wanted to wake up without brain damage.

My dad always said to respect anyone who does honest work, and I do. I respect doctors, engineers, architects, construction workers and ditch diggers. I respect the fact they know more about their job than I do, and I would never presume to dismiss a ditch digger or a sanitation worker because their jobs are not very prestigious, or because they *look* simple. We'd be in a hell of a mess without them.

You said you're an engineering student. Looks like you've got a lot to learn about the world. And here's a tip from someone who's kept the same job for 19 years, with a four-year degree, but not commensurate pay: get over that jealousy. It's ugly and the resentment and bitterness you're carrying around will not endear you to any prospective employers, no matter where in the world you're located. To you from me, Pinky Lee.

By anon214047 — On Sep 13, 2011

Why do docs make a lot of money?

1. 11-15 years of training total, eight years of which you are paid zero and in fact, are getting into a lot of debt. And three to seven years (residency) of which you are making less then minimum wage on a per-hour basis.

2. Arduousness of the task. Almost no specialty works less than 50 hours a week. Surgical specialties can get up to 80/90 hours per week. Average is 60-65 hours/week for all docs.

3. Knowledge. Nurses and aids have technical know-how -- this is vital. Docs have clinical know-how -- to be able to put clinical puzzles together and solve complex cases and manage complex issues. It takes years to get there.

4. Last-person/responsibility. Docs are ultimately responsible for their patients. This is a heavy burden to carry every day - much higher then being responsible to corporate shareholders (yet docs get paid less then CEOs).

5. Career before family and life. Most docs have to be there. No matter the time of day or situation, you are expected to be there for your patient. Your family and private life always come second to your patients. This alone should mean compensation orders of a magnitude higher than an average worker. --Etc.

By anon213896 — On Sep 12, 2011

Someone asked this: "If you needed some kind of surgery for cancer, who would you want? A car mechanic? or a guy who was at the top of his class in high school to get into a top college, who was at the top of his class to get into medical school?"

Answer is: I just need a person who is trained enough to do that job. I don't want him to be the best, most talented student of the whole school district. Also I don't want him to be the highest salary earner either.

Understand this: We all want the best student in the whole school, or even whole school district, to dedicate his/her life to do research in finding a cure to cancer. So that both you MD students and me, an engineering student can live happily.

Otherwise, that best talented student will repair limbs, stitch muscles etc., while cancer patients, AIDS patients etc., etc., die.

In short, we want brains to do brainy work, not repairs. If you think physicians do brainy work, I'm not going to comment about your brain.

In short, this brain drain should be stopped.

The only way to do that is bringing down the salaries of physicians to a comparable level to other professions.

By anon212258 — On Sep 05, 2011

@anon206569: I wholeheartedly and with all my wisdom agree with you and respect you view.

To further clarify the point, I wish to express my following views.

In any society we need the most brainy to go into research. In other words, we want them to become PHD doctors!

Unfortunately, in the USA, the most brainy, consequently who are most talented in Maths, are in the MD programme. Why? One of the biggest driving reasons is money/huge salaries.

There is a huge brain drain to the MD programme in USA just because of these massive salaries.

All MD students please answer this question honestly by yourselves.

If it was the same salary for PHD doctors (any field, engineering, medicine, physics, mathematics etc) and for physicians, which stream would you have chosen?

If all you MD's answer physician, then I respect you all. But I don't think that's going to be the case, except for a very few.

A person who likes mathematics/physics would never enjoy the clinical work that a physician has to do for the rest of his/her life as that work is merely a repairing job of a complex cellular structure.

But those talented brainy students still go into that stream for them money and respect, while sacrificing self satisfaction.

What I believe is, a brainy person needs brainy work to be self satisfied, not repair work.

This present ominous education is very dangerous, as it is fueling brain drain into one field.

By anon206569 — On Aug 17, 2011

Get this! People are not paid according to their worth. We must not respect to people according to how much they get paid or earn. This doctor vs. engineer should get paid better is dragging too long. Doctors, come on: you do earn quite a lot and your job is recession proof. You have much clearer career expects ahead of you. And engineers, well on average, you are not paid as much as doctors but let's face it, you start your careers earlier and you do earn good money.

Lawyers and financiers are not bad and they have a career that promises them to earn much more than a best paid doctor. Poor guys are scientists and researchers. Their career starts late (like doctors), however they still don't earn much. They have no clear job prospects and has little job security. They need to deal with much more competitive environment. We depend on them to make discoveries, find new medicines and equipment but we don't treasure them.

Some said we still need MDs to do evaluate these discoveries and all. Well yeah, we need a lot more than MDs to evaluate new drugs like statisticians and all so don't give me this kind of crap. Most scientists don't even want to be top earners, but it is essential to pay them enough so their families can live a good life, a job security, respect and good funding for their research.

By malvavisco — On Aug 15, 2011

I think anon is a disgruntled ex-medical student who got kicked out of med school. Bitter anyone? Got "depressed" and had to take a break from med school maybe.

By anon204780 — On Aug 10, 2011

All of society's ills are caused by inequality. The salaries paid to those in medicine are disproportionately higher than most other incomes and should be reduced.

Of course specialists should be paid more but not the massive salaries that they are getting. Nurses with several diplomas aren't paid nearly as much, so what's going on? Yes, I'd like to think that someone who holds my life in his/her hand should be paid well but not as much as they are getting.

By anon203853 — On Aug 07, 2011

most of the people who have an opinion fail to put themselves in their own shoes. if you needed some kind of surgery for cancer, who would you want? a car mechanic? or a guy who was at the top of his class in high school to get into a top college, who was at the top of his class to get into medical school, and in the case of ENT guy, was at the top of his class in medical school to get into that residency? For myself and my family, I'll take choice number 2.

Remember what it takes to get to the top: lots of unpaid/underpaid hard work and talent. if you gripe about doctors fees, join the club. I'm in the same club, and in medical school. it has everything to do with the system, not the doctor.

By anon203852 — On Aug 07, 2011

To clear up a few things:

1. Canadian med school is second entry and even more competitive than US ones, and other countries such as UK are moving toward requiring bachelor degree.

2. A teaching degree is not comparable to M.D. in U.S./Canada in terms of amount of education, college-level lecturers is a more apt comparison.

3. An advantage of second entry system is that some of our physicians are also capable researchers. They are involved mostly in clinical research but also basic ones too, and depending on the field, more than intro calculus and physics is needed.

I`m a future M.D. and I have taken differential equation, partly because I like math but also because the research I`m interested in would need it. It's not nearly as bad a problem as the many english lit. working as waiters.

By anon202222 — On Aug 01, 2011

Dear Policy makers:

We general public demand these three changes in the health system:

1. After high school, straight to medical school. That's what the whole world does.

2. Remove the quota system, and let the law of supply and demand handle the annual physician output from schools.

3. Increase the payment during residency period.

We urgently need these three steps, without which it is inevitable to get rid of this ominous path, in which people suffer daily as they can not afford the health cost, while, as one surgeon had posted here, medical officers make 550K!

By anon202220 — On Aug 01, 2011

Physicians and calculus: Most hilarious thing I heard in a while. Please don't try to prove it any more. It's poor patients -- money you wasted on that course. You took that unnecessary course, now we pay for that to make you rich and earn $200K.

By anon201770 — On Aug 01, 2011

@POST 107: To ENT repair (intentionally used this term, which exactly describes what you do and I don't call you guys doctors. you have no right to use that address, without publishing a single research paper) person:

Please tell me why did you happen to study 15-20-plus years after your first degree to become an ENT repair person, when the ENT repair guys in europe can do that in five years after the first degree (after high school, they take five years for MBBS and five years for MD, which is their specialization) and the people in those countries enjoy much better health than the people in US.

Again mentioning here the facts internationally published:

A US person spends double of what a european or canadian spends for their health.

US physicians/surgeons earn twice what their european counterparts earn.

US physician/surgeon takes double the time in school and training than european/canadian physicians.

Now the result of this is:

Infant death rate wise, there are 46 countries ahead of US, including some developing countries.

Life expectancy wise, there are over 50 countries ahead of the US.

This is the only country where people suffer and wait without going to the doctor, as the bills are huge. They suffer until it's unbearable.

Now the question: What's the meaning of living like this? Isn't US a hell, where health care is concerned?

My solution:

1. Cut the medical school time to five years (I mean altogether five years, no first degree is needed. After high school straight to medical school. That's what the european, canadian and the rest of the whole world does).

2. This is an open economy country. leave the law of supply and demand handle the number of physicians pass out per year. We don't want a quota. Remove it. This is a free open economic country!

3. Increase the residence time salary, comparable to other four to five year degree salaries.

Now back to the ENT repair guy post 107:

You know when I see physicians I don't address them as doctor. I try to avoid as much as possible. You know why? Because you sold your respect as well in achieving that 550K. I owe you nothing. You owe me a lot. So don't expect any respect, at that price. Just do your repair job and don't expect anything other than payment.

By anon200138 — On Jul 26, 2011

Teachers? Need I say more. A teacher's education is right up there with the doc's.

By graco32 — On Jul 12, 2011

@ anon23743: "a doctor is like a car mechanic."

I cannot take you seriously if you made that comment in a non-joking tone. However, you are apparently under the impression that physicians are dipsticks while you are on the verge of collapsing under the weight of your own genius.

I will help you understand. A car is a toy compared to the cellular machinery that is helping you turn oxygen into carbon dioxide right now. There is more complexity in making methane or messing your pants than the sum of the entire automobile or any other man made device you would like to pit against the human body. Consequently, because of this complexity, a physician often must say, "I don't know" because no finite mind outside of yours could possibly comprehend in its entirety what you think could be simplified to "a+b=c."

However, this is something some people simply cannot grasp. In spite of our training, which may take us into our mid-40's, we still may not have an answer to all your problems. If it is so easy, then join us.

By anon195456 — On Jul 11, 2011

The actual amount of misinformation spread on this site is as palpable as the public's stupidity at large. I won't even address the "Calculus" debate as it seems to be written by someone young and inexperienced.

I'm a physician in the US, specifically an ENT surgeon. I make a very comfortable living and I'm proud of my accomplishments. Now to clear up some stuff: It will take me "15 years to pay off debts" because I chose to have one house, two car payments and various investment accounts. The "15 years of training" encompass four years of medical school and six to eight years of residency training, where one is a Doctor (MD/DO) completing one's graduate medical education. And we are paid during this residency, albeit horribly. However, it is a livable wage starting in the 40s and ending in the low 60s.

I now make close to $550,000 gross (pre-tax) and I deserve every penny. I'm trilingual, travel the world, actively pursue research in my field and I enjoy my toys too.

Don't hate because I've overcome the complacency that most people simply accept. I didn't come from a wealthy background, but my tenacity coupled with a modicum of intelligence, got me where I am today. I love my profession and I love my patients – even the ones who can't afford me because my job itself is all the reward I truly need. The rest is just extra. O.K. Break time is over. I need to prep for this next laryngectomy.

By anon188466 — On Jun 20, 2011

Doctors are way overrated. After my last experience with a physician, I have concluded that the next doctor who examines me will be the medical examiner trying to figure out what killed me (they will probably get it wrong!). As to the pay; for some it is obscene. For others, it is about right. But this is the only profession where you can be very bad and still make a lot of money. There are no standards and doctors take care of their own.

By anon183235 — On Jun 04, 2011

One of the biggest problems here is that people base their opinions of doctors and medicine in general on their personal experience, and not on actual trends or statistics. And when they do use statistics, as previously stated, they cherry pick the ones that support their opinion.

One of the pitfalls of personal experience is that people tend to remember the bad experiences, not the good. A person can go to a doctor for 20 years and have no issues, but the day that something "bad" happens whether or not it's even partially the physician's fault, that's all that gets communicated to one's family and friends is how Dr. so-and-so didn't do x and it made me so sick, delayed my recovery, would have been better if he did y, etc.

Therein lies the real reason that doctors should make a pretty decent salary -- if they are good. (and we'll get back to that) Not because it costs so much to become one, but because as a physician, you are at a pinnacle of personal trust and responsibility with those in your care.

If a software engineer goofs, people get frustrated and might lose money (OK so if they program the subway schedule, people might die, but there are a dozen people who double check that software. It's not up to one person) If a lawyer goofs, people lose money and might get frustrated enough to kill, but they were probably unstable to begin with. My point is, most people agree there is nothing more important to one's life than one's health. If you don't have it, you have nothing, and doctors, whether you like it or not, are in the best position to help you maintain that in many cases -- if you have a good doctor.

I find it funny that people who aren't doctors can say that it's completely formulaic, and almost funnier than people who are saying that calculus is involved. Unless you are deriving formulas for research, calculus isn't involved. The only thing that really matters to being a good doctor is being overwhelmingly persistent at finding the right answer, and yes it does take 4+4+3 years to get anywhere near good at considering all the possibilities involved in a "good case". Anyone can take care of a case of sinusitis, but a random case of persistent hyponatremia when the patient is on no medications? Or persistent abdominal pain in a young person with no surgical involvement (or failed surgical involvement), or God forbid, out of control diabetes in a person who insists they eat right, exercise and take their medicine.

I think it's easy to forget that while half of all medical problems are easy to deal with, the other half can easily turn into a level 3 sudoku, or a Bobby Fischer chess match. Again, that's a good analogy, for while I can teach my son to play chess, it takes amazing persistence to even compete with Deep Blue (I'm sure the software engineer loves that reference).

So what's my point? It's that not every medical problem is hard, nor are all of them easy and it's the difficult ones, in the hands of a good doctor that demand 200-300k per year. Unfortunately, it's the bad doctors, with the easy cases that everyone remembers. Yes there are bad doctors, bad lawyers, and lazy people in every profession. This is where it becomes the patient's job to decide who they want "in charge of their health.? You want a good doctor who is persistent enough to eventually find the right answer, and he/she deserves a pretty decent salary for that one time when your life, or your health or your pain, is suddenly actually in their hands. You are paying them to know what to do, even when there may not be an answer.

That's why they deserve good compensation, and if they stink, they should get out of practice. Period. I feel the same way about lawyers, but it's a lot harder to get the people who make the laws to see their flaws. Weinergate comes to mind.

By anon180369 — On May 26, 2011

To the people who continue to post and ask why aren't doctors in the us happy with the same salary as overseas. Hmm. Typical left-wing agenda that skews and cherry picks aspects they want about something to support their claim.

Let us state the truth and all facts. So, let us say a doctor in a specific European country or Canada makes $100,000 a year. Do you know in France they work no more than 35 hours a week? With a month's paid vacation? They have medical school paid for? So let us compare that shall we? Hmm. 110 hours a week in the USA vs 35. Who actually gets paid more?

Let us ration that health care and the demanding lazy entitlement, "me now" attitude that has been created in this country will be begging for the health care of old. Do you know in Canada patients frequently come across the boarder to this country for life saving treatments that they would die for if they waited? Doctors greedy? That is laughable. It is the people who expect such high achievement people who have sacrificed so much who are the selfish ones.

People pay a hundred bucks a month for cell phone coverage but whine about "doctors salaries" when required to pay a ten dollar copay. To the person now comparing doctors to train riders, are you kidding me? OK you cannot have your cake and eat it too. If health care and doctors are a "right" then everything else you claim is equivalent should start being a right too! I have a right to transportation. I have a right to better clothes that will save me from weather. I have a right to a good accountant to save me money so that I can have money for healthier food. The list goes on and on.

Get off your behind and do something for yourself! I also don't believe in the engineer or phd bashing. Everyone has a role to play. We should be targeting freeloaders and professional athletes for their obscene salaries with little value added to society.

As for our health care being worse, or infant mortality – again, laughable. We have the best health care in the world, which is why people from around the world come here for care. We also try and save pregnancies and babies that would have not even made it past a day in other nations. You like it so much in Cuba or China, move there.

By anon170535 — On Apr 26, 2011

Well, I am a doctor. We are not making that much money. Most of us have huge student loan debt, have to pay huge malpractice and tail costs. This keeps us in debt and enslaved. Difficult to change jobs. I plan to die with a huge amount of debt.

While I am taking care of the health care needs of medicare, medicaid and other folks, I get very little time off and almost no respect. I cannot imagine why young people would ever do this. So, the quality of health care will decline. And fewer good, smart people will do it. The hospitals, insurance companies and drug companies are making all the money. We are being used. All of us.

By anon166542 — On Apr 09, 2011

@Post 95: "a physician must know calculus in order to understand how to assess, diagnose and treat patients."

Every time I see a physician, he assesses, he diagnoses and then he treats me. So you are telling us here, he needed calculus to do that. Let's not waste our time here, because I didn't see him solving a calculus problem for treating my sickness.

Every time I see him, he did this as I said earlier:

1. He checked my "X" set of symptoms.

2. He came to a conclusion that I have "Y" sickness.

3. Then "Z" medication was given.


This is what my car mechanic also does to diagnose my car problems. But I agree in his case he has a bigger room of error. But technically, both are repair jobs.

If you like calculus, no problem in learning that. But please don't charge that tuition on poor patients.

Anyone can fit any course into any field and can always find a reason why they needed it in that stream. The real intention behind that is another story.

As I said earlier, in other countries they don't learn calculus and they finish learning in five years and have lower infant mortality rates than the US.

You US medical students must be very weak and that's why,

in the first place you need 10 years to learn to do the same thing others are doing in five years, but still infant mortality rate is higher.

By anon166001 — On Apr 06, 2011

A typical software engineer works more than 60 hours per week their entire career. they also need to learn new stuff almost every other month to keep their job. they also make everyone else's job easy, including doctors', through their software.

not sure if there is any profession which is constantly challenged intellectually throughout their career. this is different from emergency doctor seeing similar patients almost on a daily basis or a firefighter trying to attend an emergency once in a while.

By anon165854 — On Apr 06, 2011

@Post 95: Please consider the validity of the data you use for your argument. In terms of infant mortality, the definitions of "infant" are not unanimous across the board. In the US, prematurely born infants are included in this statistic, and these are infants with a significantly decreased chance of survival. But this is not true in some countries with proportion "lower" infant mortality rates.

It is much easier to look up information and criticize than to actually educate yourself.

Also, your assessment of what doctors do and need to know in order to do their job is silly and unsubstantiated. Please take even an introductory course on human physiology to understand why a physician must know calculus in order to understand how to assess, diagnose and treat patients.

@post 96: No one would question the challenging nature of the courses you mention. However, why do you insist the courses a pre-medical and medical student takes are not rigorous? The sheer volume of knowledge a decent physician should have at his fingertips is rigorous enough.

He must be able to assess a patient immediately, sort through the information provided by a patient, if any can be given at all, perform a focused physical exam based on the history just obtained in the last few minutes, know exactly what tests to order to yield a diagnosis, and in the meantime be considering what therapies are available, what contraindications may exist to accepted treatments, and how to set up follow up for the patient. This is on top of the fact that people are complex and unique.

No one is the same and physicians must be constantly expanding on what they have learned through years of studies and experience to tailor their practice to the individual.

By anon163010 — On Mar 25, 2011

In my country, we pay through taxes, pool the money and give health care to those who need it when they need it, on average pay far less in a lifetime for it and live longer than americans.

By anon156540 — On Feb 27, 2011

@Post 91: It seems you don't know what rigorous means!

In the list of courses you have mentioned above, other than Physics, nothing else is even closer to rigorous, all the rest is cramming. And then Physics is the course that you need least.

I don't think this even worth debating.

If you want to know what rigorous means, please take a course on Real Analysis or Measure Theory, and also learn a bit on Cantor set.

But for the repair work you are training to do, you don't need any of these. No offense.

By anon156539 — On Feb 27, 2011

"Physicians learn calculus:"

For what? To do the following job:

"X" set of symptoms --> "Y" sickness ---> "Z" medication.

Can someone tell me that this is not what they are doing daily? And then tell me in where you use calculus to do this X->Y->Z job?

This XYZ job is a repair job in its purest definition.

Calculus is not needed in repair jobs, as per my understanding from someone who uses calculus daily!

The money and time you spent on these kind of unrelated/unnecessary courses is an absolute waste, and ultimately poor patients have to pay for these.

Another absolute waste is 10/8 years of study to get a M.D.

1. Can someone please tell me why US medical students take 10 years to learn how to treat patients (technically repair humans) when the whole rest of the world can do that in five years and make their health system much much better than US.

Just one example: Infant mortality rate index: US is 47. 46 Countries are above us! In none of these 46, med students spend 10 years to learn this.

These outrageous salaries to physicians, as a result of the number of years spent in education, is a complete insane. Lawmakers should correct this sooner better than later.

I'm not saying they should be paid the taxi driver's salary. What I say is: Research professor and Engineer salaries should be comparable to physician salaries. At the moment a physician's salary is sky high. This is leading to a brain drain in to one field, unfortunately which doesn't demand that much intellectual power compared to research professors or design engineers.

Our next generation Einsteins ending at limb repair stations is inevitable if we continue on this ominous path.

By anon153696 — On Feb 17, 2011

To post #93. No, a purely capitalist system would not work. If you lost a limb and could not work, you would reconsider that statement. Orphans, elderly, and the disabled would not be able to provide for themselves.

I agree with many people here that doctors really don't get paid much. The $300/h you might have paid an institution for your diagnosis doesn't make it to the doctor. 20 percent-plus goes to the insurance company alone, another percent (I don't know how much) goes to the operating cost of where the doctor works, then a very large portion goes to malpractice insurance (we really don't appreciate doctors in this country and like to sue them a lot). Eventually the doctor gets very little of what you actually paid.

The fault lies in our medical/health system. The individuals sitting near the top of the corporate chain of insurance companies make millions in bonuses from your money each year, and you think the guy who saved your life gets paid too much? Please, I would rather give the guy that saved my life that money instead of the insurance.

Malpractice lawsuits also need to be regulated so the doctors don't need to be paid that much to cover their tails.

By anon151611 — On Feb 10, 2011

Medicine should go back to a purely capitalist system. Need care? Pay for it. End of story.

By anon150853 — On Feb 09, 2011

First, training to become a doctor in the US is extremely difficult, takes many years, and is very expensive (my expected debt after medical school is over $300,000). There is no other profession that demands the same amount of work and training. Doctors work almost double the number of hours per week compared to other professions, work on holidays, and shifts can last over 24 hours. What other job requires such commitment and sacrifice?

Second, those complaining that costs are lower in other countries don't consider the vast differences in medical education and health care policies in these countries.

1. Medical school is much cheaper in other countries, because many governments pay some, if not all, of the tuition fees.

2. Most European medical schools admit students right after high school, and education is only five years. This further reduces education costs, but also education quality. (Note for those who want a foreign doctor: while 97 percent of US graduates pass the Step1 license exam, only 67 percent of foreign medical graduates do.)

3. After graduation, European doctors can only work 48 hours a week. In the US during residency and fellowship training doctors work 80-120 hours per week. After training doctors may still work 60-80 hours per week.

4. Restrictions on malpractice lawsuits in other countries greatly reduces insurance costs compared to the US.

5. Complicated, drawn-out billing procedures created by insurance companies in the US is estimated to cost about 20 percent in secretary salaries and other costs. Easier billing in foreign countries does not have the same cost.

Other comments addressed:

Address comment about engineers having to just as much work because they need stay up to date by reading articles: Doctors also must stay up to date on current studies, new medications released and changes to suggested practice.

Doctors can't do calculus? Actually, it's a required class for entry to medical school. Engineers do require more creative thinking, but the amount of information they need doesn't even compare to what doctors need to know.

The comment about self treatment with OTC, congrats. You can read the back of cough medicine bottle. Do you know if that medicine will react with anything else you take? Do you understand more complicated diseases and know how to treat them? Medicine isn't something than can be taught at grade school level to everyone. It first requires a solid foundation in organic chemistry and biology as well as other sciences.

Physicians don't only have to identify a problem and give a medication, they also need to have a deep understanding of biochemistry, physiology, immunology, pathology and pharmacology.

By anon149363 — On Feb 04, 2011

@Anon143354: Poor people do not die because they do not have enough money to pay for treatment. You would know that doctors, by law, are required to treat any patient for an emergency, regardless of the patient's financial situation. In other words, if the patient is coming into the emergency room, the doctor works on him right away, not even sorting out the financial details until the end.

Also, when you say it does not require "a lot of intelligence", just more training than other jobs, what are you taking about? Clearly, you have not taken organic chemistry, physics, anatomy, or any of the other rigorous courses. Eight years of it after high school, plus residency. That's a lot of hard work. As for intelligence, when your life is at risk, you want a doctor who is intelligent enough to make smart decisions quickly, right? Do you want an unintelligent person to decide your fate? I didn't think so.

You are right about one thing, though. The government should indeed fix the salaries of doctors. By paying them more. They do not get paid outrageously at all. They are pretty much middle class in recent years, and have a million loans and malpractice insurance to pay for. So, they deserve more. Next time do a bit of research before you start posting stuff.

It's people like you who don't appreciate the dedication doctors go through just to save lives such as yours. You are a perfect example of our society's screwed-up value system.

By anon148228 — On Feb 01, 2011

"Doctors actually make many discoveries themselves."

I think he meant physicians. This is trying to generalize one in millionth of occurrences to the whole physicians.

Even the ones who have invented something are not the ones you find in your family care practice. They are probably the ones at the university professor level, as he himself mentions about Harvard.

So I see you agree with me on the fact that professors make inventions. You have pointed out some cases from medical field. For me it doesn't matter what the field is. It's the professors who do research. The ones in the hospitals treating patients do only repair! I know it's hard to accept, especially in the case where actually you are doing that.

By anon148227 — On Feb 01, 2011

To Doctor Dad posts: I have insurance, but sad to say, before I take my Child to Emergency care, I think twice and balance the amount I have to pay and the level of risk I have to take by not doing so. Let me know if there is anyone who doesn't do so. People do not go to ER for fun!

If was born in England or France, I would not have done that and wouldn't have taken any risk on the lives of my family. These is a pathetic situation in this country.

By anon148225 — On Feb 01, 2011

Post #86: I'm not the one who wrote Post #1:

Whether you believe it or not I diagnosed myself three diseases so far successfully and treated myself with over the counter medications, without paying bunch of money to your father to reach 300K per year!

It seems having no insurance has become a joke for you. Please don't speak like that. It hurts them, who can not afford insurance to pay your dad 300K.

Lawmakers! Please, please change this! We need a public option. If England can, if France can, why can't America?

By anon148224 — On Feb 01, 2011

Post #84: "French Physician invented Stethoscope".

You haven't understood my point.

Whoever invents something is not called a physician. He is called a researcher. May be he was a physician sometime back. It doesn't matter whether he was a physician, engineer, mathematician, economist or whatever. If he invented something, then he is a researcher!

What I'm saying is the job of the physician is not inventing, but repairing both you and me and all of the society. I see you don't want to accept the fact that job of the physician is repairing. But please stop and think!

By anon147707 — On Jan 30, 2011

My dad is a doctor and I get very annoyed with people like what number 1 had to say about doctors. i guess he probably did not have insurance because he is educating himself and had a heart attack and they saved his life and then they charged him and he got wicked pissed.

By anon146973 — On Jan 27, 2011

To the person who makes three times as such in the engineering service stuff, please tell me what it is that you do? (post #60)

I am an engineer and my salary has been flat for many years. Working in the automotive industry as an engineer, I see "A" students get pulled in after college. Most don't stay that long after they realize it may take 20 years to get a promotion to the big dollars. And just like any other large corporation, it's not the best or brightest that get the promotions. It's a friend based system.

By anon144510 — On Jan 20, 2011

"These PhD doctors/professors save lives by inventing the imaging scanners, new chemical products, tools, and even designing your stethoscope without which you are absolutely nothing."

Doctors actually make many discoveries themselves. While Ph.D. basic science researchers may come up with new and exciting drugs, they still have to work with an M.D. during the phase I, II, and III clinical trials before the FDA will ever approve a drug.

Engineering Ph.D.s have even fewer discoveries on their own. How could they? You could be a brilliant electrical engineer, but you have no knowledge of the human body. Take the pacemaker for the heart. Sounds like an engineering accomplishment right? Actually, a doctor invented it, and only consulted with an electrical engineer to carry out the details of the plan he devised.

Oh, and the stethoscope: A French physician invented the very first one, and the modern, gold-standard stethoscope was invented by a physician at Harvard.

By anon144482 — On Jan 19, 2011

guess what doctors save lives, they go through rigorous training and years and years of medical school. They are far more important to society than say a CEO of a oil company. There is no way that any of you can possibly be serious that you really think physician's salaries should be cut.

I get so enraged when people (why by the way have probably never been a doctor) claim that we are wasting to much money physicians. If anything, they are underpaid. I saw my father wake up at 4 a.m. and come home at 1 a.m. many many times. But I am very proud of him and aspire to be like him. Next time one of you has a heart attack, try talking him or her into that.

By anon143831 — On Jan 17, 2011

I was a biomedical engineer for undergrad who recently graduated from a physician assistant program in December. I absolutely love medicine and biology, but what doctors do and go through is torture.

I spent nearly seven years in school, busting my butt studying. As of today, I am about 40k in debt, but am making 74k a year. In my opinion, great engineers should be making way more, and the good ones do.

Doctors, for the amount of time they work, and the amount of things they know should be banking way more. That all being said, I think saying doctors and engineers are "brainy" is ignorant. I believe that anyone has the ability to do that work, they simply do not have the perseverance or dedication to go through it.

It is a constant practice, over and over and over, making yourself better and better everyday. However, I would like to note that it is like this with every single profession. People who complain about pro basketball stars making millions. When you were eight years old, were you running laps and shooting hoops for eight hours a day after school?

For people mad at millionaire actors, have you ever been on stage? Learned to cry on cue when you were eleven? All professions take hard work and sacrifice, Oprah used to be a radio DJ, she simply worked harder. Same with medicine.

Doctors make more money than others because they work harder. I honestly believe I am getting paid what I am worth, and I am happy with it. Stop complaining about how much money people who work harder than you are making. You have the ability to do the exact same thing, you just choose not to.

By anon143354 — On Jan 15, 2011

Post #79: The answer to all your problems, including for the missed past of having your dad beside you in the soccer game is:

1. Increase the annual quota for physicians.

Poor patients are not responsible for the long hours that your dad works. They do not have to die just because your dad works. Do you know how many poor patients die in a year just because they don't have enough money to pay so that your dad can earn 300 K a year.

Please cut the crap out.

After all, as I always say, the doctor's job is a repair job. It demands less intelligence but lot more training than many other jobs. If our society continues to pay these outrageous salaries to the doctors, we will see the Einsteins of our generation fixing limbs!

Lawmakers, please fix this salary structure! Good luck!

By anon143016 — On Jan 14, 2011

99 percent of the doctors are legal drug pushers for the pharmaceutical companies. Traditionally, drug pushers make good money. Street drug pushers and legal drug pushers pretty much have the same life expectancy of 58, in the United States.

By anon142607 — On Jan 13, 2011

(Attention: Before you all skip this post because it is rather long, open your mind, take a quick read, and maybe learn something from the POV of someone who is affected by doctors every day.)

I can relate with posters #31 and #27. I read about the first 40 posts to get an idea of the overall opinion. I would also be willing to bet that Posters #14 and #16 have had some personal conflict with a doctor. For #14 it is obvious: he could not get into med-school and now holds a grudge against all doctors because of his lack of something on his resume.

I can relate with #31 and #27 because I also have a father who is a doctor. I am now 18 but have grown up living the life of the doctor's son.

You are hated for having money. However, it was not my choice to have a father who worked rigorous hours to supply his family with a comfortable living. This money also comes at an expense. One thing that I have always noticed and felt is all the kids around me having fathers drop them off at friends' homes and sporting events or fathers attending sports and dance or whatever the event be. I have played violin and soccer since I was 5 (13 years) and I can count on my fingers how many recitals and soccer games combined my father has attended. Tell me that isn't a huge sacrifice. Not only for him missing my games/recitals, but also him knowing it would hurt me not having him there.

He is a cardiologist and almost never leaves home later than 7 a.m. He also rarely gets home before 9 p.m. and most of the time not before 10:30 p.m., so go ahead and do the math. On average, he is working around 85-90 hours a week. Add to this the countless nights of getting called in at 2 a.m., 3 a.m., 4 a.m. ... it never ends.

So if you want an overpaid athlete or overpaid singer taking care of you instead of doctors who have gone through decades of education, be my guest, but I, on the other hand, will be more than happy to allow doctors to keep their jobs. In fact, I think we should raise the salaries of both teachers and doctors. We depend on these two professions the most.

Before you go and complain about the salaries of doctors, try to open your mind and ponder on the skill, patience, education, hard work, and sacrifices that are just a handful of the things that go into becoming a doctor.

Anyone who believes doctors should be paid less are rather narrow-minded and likely envy doctors because of their salary. Maybe some doctors out there aren't "good" doctors and seem to be in it for the money, but I have met several doctors and they are in it because it is their passion and they are incredible people.

By anon140546 — On Jan 07, 2011

I think it was previously stated that engineering is a choice but so is choosing to go into medicine. You may have overpaid for your career training but don't expect the rest of us to finance your god complex!

By anon139721 — On Jan 05, 2011

Reply to post 60: LOL. Doctors keep me healthy? My entire life I have gone to the doctor when sick. Usually they just take my temperature, read my heartbeat, give me a prescription for meds, and take as much of my money as possible. You are so skilled. I guess it is a different story if you are a surgeon, though.

By anon138641 — On Jan 01, 2011

Yes, 137,000 is a very 'penny-pinching' lifestyle. How can you expect doctors to practice medicine when they are starving to death?

By anon136673 — On Dec 23, 2010

anon136239: Your comments accept the problem in the medical field, also cannot avoid mentioning here, that you are trying to be pretentious on some things but unfortunately the facts are not right. I do not know which GRE exam you did, but the one that PhD engineering has to do does not include Calculus! Busted!

After all, the GRE is not an exam as far as the engineering is considered. It is considered mostly the crammers can score high in that.

Coming back to the topic:

Problems: 1. As you accepted, by saying you are very brainy, the cream of USA is now in the medical field. And as I mentioned earlier, they are busy in repairing us. Please go and check in the dictionary what doctor means, if you still haven't realized what you have been basically doing is repairing me. My argument is our system should not be in such a way that, the cream of the class is directed to repairing.

2. We need the smart guys (Intelligence) in the fields of research (doesn't matter what field is). That's why I say professors should be in the highest or else equal level of payment.

3. It's very clear from this Anon, that he is a brainy and he has gone into the medical field because of the money. Now he doesn't seem to be enjoying the job, as it's merely a repair job. The fault is not in this anon, it's in the society. It's in this salary structure.

On a separate note: Would you please stop talking about saving lives, as your stethoscope is also mine (I designed), and without which you are nothing.

I'm an engineer. Due to the above reason I claim professors should be the highest paid professionals in the society without which the whole society will collapse.

By anon136239 — On Dec 22, 2010

Thanks for your comments. I had an interesting weekend this week. About 33 hours of work plus several phone calls that woke me up when I was not working. Interestingly, 26 of my weekends are like this one each year.

This is the reward for going to a couple of Ivy League institutions, spending three hundred thousand on education and spending nine years after college training, many times working over 100 hours a week.

Of course, I must be a dummy. I mean those PhDs must be so hard. It must be a fluke that I scored in the top five percent in the GREs just walking into the test and a bigger fluke that I outscored the engineers in everything from calculus to english. They really are the creative brains. I wish I could have been like them and had their talent.

And medicine is so easy, so algorithmic. It just takes some memorization. Besides, I hardly ever make any life changing decisions until at least a minute or two into my 12 hour medium work day.

No, really, we should be paid like teachers. Let me tell you, if I needed heart surgery and my surgeon was sick, I'd let a high school teacher substitute in instead. But alas, if my kid's teacher was sick, imagine how scary letting a heart surgeon substitute in would be.

Dear society, get over it. We are not overpaid. You will for a while try to get cheap labor out of us. It will work for some time. But what will happen, within fifteen years, is that you will realize that you, not your neighbor, not your boss, will have to ration your access to health care if you want prices to go down.

Imagining that someone would work their butt off for you for pennies is a pipe dream that you'd first better pursue with your banker, accountant, trainer, lawyer, real estate broker, iPhone service provider, oversized SUV maker, etc.

By anon135779 — On Dec 20, 2010

Exceptions of course always exist. Let's not compare regular GP exams with a brain surgeries here, but apple for apple.

Because of med school and training costs are staggering, doctors are trying to recoup as fast as they can upon starting on the job. That by itself does no good to the quality of care their patients get. The way medical billing is set in the US, to a great extent provides huge incentive for doctors to open the drive-through window.

If the so-called (insurance-tribute extracting) companies stop paying the existing doctors contact fees, then of course, they will settle for a fewer condos in Hawaii and Aspen and do pretty much the same quality of work.

By anon134499 — On Dec 14, 2010

Post no.27: Its completely ridiculous. Why don't you design a bridge? The computer will say BEEP? then everything done? This is completely ridiculous. I'm extremely annoyed by post 27.

Can't believe that some people do know nothing about engineering.

By anon134496 — On Dec 14, 2010

"How many 40 hour shifts and 110 hour weeks did you have in your PhD program?"

Answer is: You physicians most likely do not know what PhD means, for you it might sound like Permanent Head Damage?

I think that itself answers how much hard work go in to achieving a PhD and becoming a real doctor.

These PhD doctors/professors save lives by inventing the imaging scanners, new chemical products, tools, and even designing your stethoscope without which you are absolutely nothing. Not only that, finally teaching you how to use those scanners without making a BBQ of the patient's brain. That's how those people save lives.

Physicians ultimately use all these tools and repair the problem in the human body and then charge outrageous amounts.

This is extremely unethical and unjust. All I say is this whole medical education system should be restructured.

1. Why do American physicians have to take two degrees and spend eight years, while the whole rest of the world can do it in 5 years? Note here that even though our physicians spend the longest time in college and medical school, we are not even close to the best health system in the world. Some third world countries are better than us. So why do our medical students have to go 8-10 yrs of college? Are we that dumb?

2. Why are our physicians are paid lower during the residency period?

3. Why can not government come up with some financial assistance so that the loan amount of medical students shall not be too high. Anyway 100,000 of debt is nothing compared to sky high amounts you earn.

By anon134489 — On Dec 14, 2010

The sky high pays for physicians attract the cream of the country to the medical field. This leads to a situation where the Einsteins of our generation will be, and are already, stitching muscles, or else fixing some malfunctioning legs or arms (for example a surgeon) in somewhere.

Or else they have become physicians who are busy in repairing (term doctor as a verb, from dictionary) human bodies.

If we want the cream of the country to do inventions, researches, designs then, fix this issue, so that the salary scale of physicians are comparable to what Professors and engineers make.

someone somewhere in Beijing is laughing at us, because no American brains are at work where it needs brains.

Medical field is only a support field. It can never become an economy driving field. We want physicians to just keep the society healthy, and just that but nothing less nothing more. The driving of the economy and society shall be done by new inventions for which there are research professors and engineers. By paying sky high salaries for physicians and far less to the driving forces, we have placed the carriage before the horse.

If we don't fix this soon, Asian horses passing us is inevitable.

By anon134407 — On Dec 14, 2010

Although doctors do have to go through intense training, endure medical school, pay off lots of debt, and be very careful about their practices, they still get paid much more than enough. Even though it might take them 15 years to pay off their debt after school, they'll make a lot of dough after they finish paying it off.

I think it's about time doctors stop complaining that they are underpaid in the U.S. Because of taxes, they may lose 1/3 or more of their salary but they still have more than enough to live. How much more could they possibly want? Doctors are pretty wealthy individuals overall yet they still yearn for higher pay. What logic is there behind their pleas that they don't get paid enough?

By anon134279 — On Dec 14, 2010

No one has to be paid high just because they save lives. Bottom line is they save lives thanks to the engineers, chemists and researchers. If there were no engineers, then you don't have stethoscopes. Think about it.

I think the question here is should the cream of the class should broke physicians, who do repairing bodies, or else should become academia researchers or else engineers who do inventions and do complex designs?

If someone think genius should do repairing bodies, please continue to pay high for physicians. If not, stream more money in to the areas of research and designs.

Sooner or later we should change this salary structure which is not catering the country's requirement.

By anon132524 — On Dec 07, 2010

It takes four years, minimum, of training to read radiology images. Buy yourself Brant and Helms Intro to Radiology book and you'll see, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. There is not only the millions of diseases but the physics and radiation safety of using such equipment. I take it you've never talked to a radiologist nor observed them reading films.

By anon129708 — On Nov 24, 2010

I am a software engineer and the work that I do requires immense concentration, reading, deciphering and optimizing hundreds of lines of code and in addition, it requires the skill of creativity which is cognitively consuming.

If required to do calculations, especially in the financial industry, I would be held accountable for any significant mistakes which could cost me my job, which as I mentioned above is a far worse predicament than dealing with a lawsuit which ultimately, a doctor's malpractice insurance would pay for, if lost.

We engineers deal with deadlines and budgets which if exceeded can also cost us our job and livelihood which if considered to be the equivalent of a physician making an error, is not comparable in terms of how damaging it can be.

Someone earning 300k paying about 60k in malpractice insurance is still bringing in about 240k which is well over twice what an engineer at the equivalent level of seniority is earning.

And to say that engineers work mostly 40 hours a week is slightly misinformed. Engineers also have to study and stay informed with the latest technologies to protect their skill set and technology changes much faster than medical principles do.

I would say that a 50 percent differential seems more justified rather than 100 percent-plus differential that exists in favor of physicians.

By anon128084 — On Nov 18, 2010

anon125916 - do you have any idea how much education it takes to be a "glorifed technician" engineer? If it's that easy, why don't you try getting into the M.I.T. Engineering department?

By anon127904 — On Nov 17, 2010

I think that the problem with the medical profession has very little to do with how much doctors make. I think it is a very complicated problem, some of which is very subtle. The largest problem I see is that people expect doctors to be gods, masters of death and life, who could let them live a little longer with no pain if they really wanted to.

Any talk of deserts wanders directly into the subjective. The concept of "deserves" varies pretty vastly from person to person. Doctors make what they make because they can. If you could make a mint on watching television, you would and you would make up all sorts of rationalizations as to why you deserve that money. Doctors apply much, much more effort than that.

In this world, we have become cowards. We are afraid of any unpleasantness, pain, sickness and death.

So, we desperately shell out so that we can cling to the thread of life, even when life has lost any semblance of personal meaning or dignity. Death drags us, kicking and screaming, across its threshold. When it finally does claim us, our relatives often make scapegoats out of our doctor. This is the cause of many unnecessary lawsuits. This is one thing which makes health care so expensive, and this is only one skew on reality out of hundreds that happens in this complicated subject.

By anon125916 — On Nov 10, 2010

Math is simply a trade. Only those people who are pure mathematicians and (some) theoretical scientists practice math as an art. Engineers who claim they are smart don't realize that they're merely glorified technicians, like doctors. And there is nothing wrong with being in a trade.

No one can do everything in the world; thankfully, there are others.

By anon117946 — On Oct 12, 2010

I am annoyed at the comments by engineers in this post. Engineers are a notoriously underpaid group of professionals, and they are usually extremely jealous of people who earn more money than they do, particularly upper level management, lawyers, and doctors.

Most engineers respect the money that doctors make because they know how much time it requires, but some are so money-focused and insecure that they declare it is "unfair" that other professionals can make so much more money because engineering is "so hard." This really bugs me.

Most of these people *chose* to become engineers because the job pays very well immediately after school. The key word there is "chose." Nobody made you become an engineer and take a job in some crappy company that doesn't pay you well. Every day you go to work there, it's because you make a choice to do so.

I chose to give up on engineering (designing new products) and instead do technician-level work (fixing broken products). Most engineers think technician-level work or manual labor that doesn't require higher-level math is beneath them.

Well, by getting away from the higher-level work, I was able to start my own company, work directly with customers, and made over three times as much as I did as an engineer (on par with what doctors earn). Now I am in med school going for surgery (again, more of "fixing things," which is what I really love), and I was able to pay for it by doing lowly technician level work.

My message to the engineers who are whining about not getting paid enough is to stop crying and take action if it really bothers you. If you hate your job, quit and train for a new career. If you don't think your make enough money, get some new skills, and quit. Or stay late, work hard, and climb the latter. But I know your type, because I spent years working with your type.

You have no motivation to improve yourself or expand your horizon outside of your narrow knowledge base. You are afraid of doing anything else besides engineering because you are convinced that engineers are the smartest people alive (especially the kind of engineer that you are), and that everyone else makes all their money at your expense.

To these people, I say, stop playing victim. If you want to live your life miserable staring at a computer screen all day with your only goal being "don't get laid off," fine. But don't come on the internet and rattle off some childish nonsense about how "it's not fair" that doctors have a great job, an important role in society, and get paid a lot of money because they didn't have to study calculus for a year (which really isn't that bad compared to the stuff you have to deal with in med school, and actually, most schools require calc now, fyi). You are just being ignorant. Doctors spend 8-10 more years in school than you do, and they keep you healthy. Show them some respect.

Anybody can become a doctor. You don't need to "know someone." Nothing except your own stubbornness, ignorance, and ego is preventing you from becoming a doctor or anything else you want to do.

By anon117492 — On Oct 10, 2010

Um, forget the tortured past. And any of you in residency posting here, life only gets harder.

I make my $XXX,XXX salary this way. 290 out of every 365 days a year is spent working. That's two-out-of-three weekends at work. Average work day is ten hours. I am also on call for emergencies 290 nights a year.

I'll settle for a $90,000 salary when coffee costs 25 cents, a programmer makes $29,000 a year and a house is $100,000 a year.

Also, go through my average day and compare it to an office day. I have done both in my lifetime; they are not remotely the same. Work hard, get paid well. Don't work hard, well don't complain about those who did.

P.S., How many 40 hour shifts and 110 hour weeks did you have in your PhD program?

By anon117271 — On Oct 09, 2010

I'm going to school to become an anesthesiologist and the amount of school i will have to complete is a minimum of 10 years, and after loans and other expenses I will be owing more than I'm making for quite some time.

I don't understand how people could put a price on a life speaking towards doctor's salaries. That's like saying if a heart transplant cost a million dollars, you would pay the million dollars -- you wouldn't just allow yourself to die. I understand that medical expenses can sometime be outrageous, but doctors well deserve the salaries they make from the 10-15 years of post high school to the 60hr, on call, 24-7 work weeks they have 356 days a year.

If you really want to complain about outrageous salaries, how about you compare NFL, NBA, and MLB players who make millions of dollars, most with little to no schooling who manipulate a ball, to a well trained, hardworking, individual who's saving your life!

-jrvs burns

By anon117015 — On Oct 08, 2010

its supply and demand. there is only one kim kardashian, there are hundreds of thousands of doctors. therefore low supply and high demand equals high price.

By anon116343 — On Oct 06, 2010

Kim Kardashian is worth 12 million dollars. Though her 'value' may be debatable, how much is your physician, who is responsible for your life, worth?

By anon115384 — On Oct 01, 2010

Doctors work very hard and spend a tremendous amount of time and energy to become capable of doing what they do. They incur a huge amount of debt during undergraduate and medical school (unless wealthy enough to pay otherwise), and receive average salaries as residents.

Many of them sacrifice a lot of personal time to study, work, do research, etc etc during training. Residency generally lasts five years. Many doctors do 24 hour shifts (this means no sleep for 24 hours straight, and sometimes they work even longer). They deal with people at their worst and most unhealthy.

If they did not get paid the salaries they do, there probably would not be as many doctors because the dark side of the profession cannot ever be overlooked and many would not choose to go into the profession. It is not a glamorous job by any means, and essentially doctors are part of the working class.

By anon110832 — On Sep 13, 2010

One way to bring down the salary of the health care professionals in the US is to open the labor market up for foreign doctors and nurses.

By anon107968 — On Sep 01, 2010

@anon101042: Thank you, i agree 100 percent. Doctors have saved so many people in my life, and the rep they get in modern society makes me sick to my stomach.

By anon103048 — On Aug 10, 2010

Everyone here thinks doctors and lawyers make so much more than engineers -- wrong. I'm an EE, I spent six years in school and I make close to 80k. A friend is a doc who spent nine years in school, a few more as a resident and he has told me personally that after his med school payments and malpractice he makes about 73k. Lawyers? Very few make really high salaries, and it skews the perspective. a cousin is in law and only makes in the 50's. (He is still junior though).

By anon102165 — On Aug 06, 2010

Doctors get paid too much. Their pay makes the cost of getting service high.

By anon101813 — On Aug 05, 2010

There are many frequently asked questions such as: why do doctors make a lot of money? Or, why is medicine the best major of all, etc.? what i realized -- and all people should -- is that it's not about the major you choose, it's about you personally.

Most people go for the majors because of the money but it's not like that. It's about the major you love and you think you will do great in. In today's society, in any major you can make money, it depends if it is the right major for you and the major you love.

For example, not all people who study medicine make a lot of money, not all who study engineering make a lot of money, and not all who study law make a lot of money.

My point is if you love the major and work hard then you will make lots of money whatever position you are in. Medicine is a tough major and i prefer leaving it to people who love the major and are hard workers.

By anon101042 — On Aug 01, 2010

I have wanted to be a doctor for as long as I can remember, because I wanted to help people. It's a very hard road, and contrary to what a previous poster stated, I did not get into medical school because I "knew someone." It was because I worked my rear end off through high school to get into a good college.

Then I worked my butt off in college to graduate at the top of my class and do well on my MCATs, in hopes of getting into medical school. Then I worked really darned hard learning the intricacies of basic medicine, volunteered my time helping people in need, and performed research (all while caring for my family) so that I could get the residency that I wanted.

Now I'm working tireless hours, studying for hours daily, and constantly double checking myself to make sure that I have given my patients the very best that I have to offer. I am 2/6 of the way done with my residency, and I'm sleepy, missing 'normal' life, and yet I'm able to look into my patients' faces daily and feel happy that I can help them. Then I become disheartened when I read posts like many of these.

I did not go into medicine to make great money. I'm certainly intelligent and hard working enough to make it in international banking or another industry that would pay more with a shorter route, but I wanted to help people.

$250,000. That's my medical school debt. Four dollars an hour. That's the difference in my salary and that of my 17 year old nephew, who is a lifeguard.

When residency is done, I will make a comfortable living while I am paying off my medical school debt. My patients will be treated by a person who has worked very, very hard with pure motives to be able to help them.

In addition to the reward of having helped someone, I am perfectly comfortable accepting a higher-than-average salary as a bonus. It was harder-than-average work that got me here, and the work I do holds the highest degree of risk: the life and death of people.

To those who believe medicine is a scam and doctors are money grubbing, overpaid practitioners of mediocrity, please ask yourself what they're worth one day in the future when your family member desperately needs their help.

By anon100059 — On Jul 28, 2010

This comment is for that professional engineer (PE) who is trying to knock on doctors out there.

I have a BS in Chemical Engineering, passed the FE exam, and am going to medical school in a few months. Yes, I can do analytical calculus and much more. You didn't get into medical school because your grades and letters weren't good enough. Getting good letters usually means you were able to establish great relations with your professors/doctors.

I know I will become much happier as a doctor than an engineer. I will definitely be smarter and more respected as the "doctor who took engineering." But I'm glad I chose chemical engineering in college. It has made me learn to think critically and this will definitely help me out in medicine.

By anon97122 — On Jul 18, 2010

Four years of college, another four years of med school, and four to seven years of residency, depending on your specialty, and who thinks they should get paid less?

By anon96267 — On Jul 15, 2010

There are some brilliant posts on here. Praise to everyone who understands that doctors deserve their money, and respect to you doctors who still work while your lifestyles are being diminished. I will be a doctor someday no matter what, and hopefully I will help make up for the lack of quality doctors there will inevitably be in the future.

-"Doctors go to heaven"

By anon92730 — On Jun 29, 2010

Professional ball players get paid too much. Doctors, no.

By anon92609 — On Jun 29, 2010

I think the people who posted negative comments are just not right. I know everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I am trying to become an OB/GYN doctor someday. I think the most ridiculous thing about it is how much money it takes to be a doctor. It is very hard to get money for medical school.

By anon92311 — On Jun 27, 2010

Physicians spend about 40,000 hours training and over $300,000 on their education, yet the amount of money they earn per hour is only a few dollars more than a high school teacher.

Physicians spend over a decade of potential earning, saving and investing time training and taking on more debt, debt that isn't tax deductible. When they finish training and finally have an income, they are taxed heavily and must repay their debt with what remains. The cost of tuition, the length of training and the U.S. tax code places physicians into a deceptive financial situation.

By anon91701 — On Jun 23, 2010

If you think that doctors make too much, then why am I on a re-payment plan with my mortgage company to save my home from foreclosure? why does the phone company call and why are my kids not at camp? Well basically, because Congress can't get their act together and they are holding payments.

Is it fair that my husband is never home, including fathers day and we can't get compensated. If my husband works, why shouldn't he get paid? Do you get to eat in a restaurant for free? Why does everyone resent the doctors from getting paid? Maybe you should analyze your statement.

By anon91355 — On Jun 21, 2010

This article is ridiculous and without fact. The only fact is the author's name. Insurances and Medicare tell us what to charge, then slice it in half, then take another 20-plus percent off that until general practice MD's have to see 35 patients a day to meet overhead, staff, payroll. When we spend 14 hours or more a day seeing patients, answering phone calls, faxing in prescriptions and our families complain that they never see us, perhaps the greater loss is that. Any of us can work at McDonalds, go home and be with our family. But if you want a good provider, please remember the numbers quoted is not our take home pay, it's what is paid after seeing 20 patients a day and paying staff and their insurance and their payroll taxes. Is it simple to be in health care, as a doctor? No, it's not.

Is it ridiculous to think that doctors are ripping you off? Yes it is. Is it probable that both socialized medicine (Medicare, Medicaid) and private health insurances are ripping you off? Yes. If RICO laws were applied, then they wouldn't rip you off. If you pay (or your employer) 500/month for you to have health care, with a $5000 deductible, and your spouse is on there. That's 10,000 dollars every year. Do that math. How much do the insurance CEOs make? Billions per CEO. Now that's a rip off.

By anon89396 — On Jun 10, 2010

In the end if you sit down and think about it, doctors deserve it all.

By anon88548 — On Jun 05, 2010

I don't think doctors get paid too much at all.

Medicine requires lots of knowledge and carefulness and working on a tight schedule. If you screw up, the person is screwed up. Then there's also the malpractice lawsuits which can seriously emotionally disable anyone.

A person in business, however, if they screw up, they are fired, and maybe have legal issues, but it's "only money" not someone's body.

I'm in business btw.

By anon86237 — On May 24, 2010

Compared to whom- the dishwasher, or the clerk? Yeah, right - these guys go through a lot and huge school fees to earn that much. As opposed to basketball players who do what exactly? Throw balls and entertain you so that big corporates can sell you beer and junk and a lot of it? That's why these ball throwers earn millions before they are even 30. Doctors, on the other hand, begin their careers when they are about 30.

By anon81671 — On May 02, 2010

Doctors do not make a lot of money. That is a myth, especially now with Obama; the worst president America has ever had!

By anon80569 — On Apr 27, 2010

since when was 137,000/year middle class. You people need to stop living in a bubble.

By anon78655 — On Apr 19, 2010

i think a doctor is a good job but doctors get lots of money. because doctors help you.

By anon71452 — On Mar 18, 2010

I'm a medical student and some of the things you say are terribly concerning. You seem to assume that many of us are here for the money and for the vast majority of us (here in Canada), that's simply not the case.

I'm hoping to eventually get into surgery. It's brilliant. You know that sense of accomplishment you get when you fix something? (people who tune cars know exactly what this feels like) That's what lots of us live for. I really could care less about my future salary except for the following things:

1) I have a house that needs to be paid for.

2) I have a car that needs to be paid for so I can actually get to school on time.

3) I'll have a future family and I'm not going to use my free weekends to say "oh, sorry kids, we'll have to make do with some tv and hot chocolate - the same things you do by yourselves when I'm not home. Yay." I want to be able to pay for some special time with my family for memories that other people will have and I may miss out on.

4) Insurance. I'm sorry, I'll try to understand.

5) When you are eating supper with your family, I'll be sleeping in a stiff chair with half a banana in a plastic bag in my pocket.

6) If I can save up enough money, when my children grow up, they will have the option of dedicating their lives to you or they can not take this hard road and maybe do something like sailing the world without society breathing down their necks about high salaries.

Some are lucky and have the connections, but most of us work our butts off to get here. While you lie in bed listening to your favorite songs and cruising around town at night with your friends, we've got our noses in books on two hours of sleep trying to figure out a clotting cascade so you don't bleed out when you get to the hospital. Hopefully you'll understand.

By anon62018 — On Jan 24, 2010

Do I think doctors make too much money? Yes? Lawyers, businessmen, investment bankers? Yes. Is it their "fault"? Not too sure about that.

Part of the problem with medicine is the old "if you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail."

We in America think we can eat all kinds of crap, watch 40 hours of TV a week instead of exercising, and then go to the doctor wanting some magic pill that will fix everything.

If everyone ate healthy foods and exercised a bit every day, then doctors wouldn't have so much work. Less work (meaning less demand) would lower costs. Not that it runs like a business. What kind of business do you go to and there are no price lists provided to you so you can see how much different procedures will cost? It is an "industry" -- a cartel.

On the other hand, we could easily open a few new medical schools to increase the number of doctors. And I don't agree with argument that it is really complicated because of infrastructure. We can spend a couple trillion dollars to fight two wars, having 180,000 people overseas? The supply chains, food preparation, field supplies, etc, etc. We have the ability to open new medical schools.

People might say it is too expensive, but I disagree. It is our health and we should be willing to pay anything for the best doctors in the world, right?

How about we pay even more so that we can have more doctors, which results in the same standard of care but with lower prices?

By anon61696 — On Jan 21, 2010

i strongly believe that doctors should be paid more. My dad is a doctor and i as his daughter know how much work and studying he does. He works a lot and has a lot of knowledge in his head.

People don't understand how hard doctors work and how much stress they have to deal with at times. My dad knows some of the longest words that exist because many diseases have very long scientific names.

Nobody should say a doctor should be paid less without knowing what they really go through and study. Sure there are a lot of people that study a lot just like doctors, but just because an engineer studies just the same as a doctor does not give him the power and knowledge to save a life every day of his life.

By ashtry — On Jan 13, 2010

Some have said that one mistake by a doctor can mean life and death to a patient, so they need to make a lot of money. But then there are the lives of hundreds of people in the hands of a train driver, so the train drivers should also be making millions of dollars, which they do not.

I know a lot of people who have spent more time in education than the doctors, but they do not make that much money.

Doctors make a lot of money because of the demand and supply. Americans do not pay the doctors from their own pockets; it is the insurance money effect that the employers pay in most cases, thereby supporting fat salaries.

Companies are increasingly getting rid of these health benefits and if the US consumers have to start paying these bills, good luck doctors.

I empathize with the effort that the doctors put in, but when you see that we in US are not the healthiest people even though we have the best doctors in the world, and that someone living in a remote island in Italy without any doctor on the island has a better quality of life and more life expectancy, all this doctor thing does not add up.

Medicine has become way too much of a part of our lives than it needs to be, we need to take control of our lives ourselves.

By anon58323 — On Dec 31, 2009

It looks easy being a doctor esp when doctors make it look so easy!

By anon58002 — On Dec 29, 2009

Doctors should get paid what they do if not more. My dad is a doctor and I have seen what craziness is involved in the profession. You are never "off" as a doctor. Your weekends are not weekends any more.

Medicine cannot be compared to any other profession, such as engineering, mainly because 1 small error could cost somebody his life. Unlike other professions where there are layers to catch error, medicine doesn't have this comfort. If an anaesthesiologist makes an error and gives too high a dosage, the patient goes into cardiac arrest -- the end.

An engineer makes an error while designing a bridge, the dimensions are dialed into a computer; red flag and beeping noise, problem caught.

By anon57861 — On Dec 28, 2009

Why is it always doctors, engineers and lawyers people see as the best jobs? Doctor: too much school and work hours. Engineer, always the employee never the employer. And lawyers: important but we have lived thousands of years without them. One of my brothers is a doctor, age 29, my other is a lawyer, age 31.

I make more money than them taking over my small family business and turning it into what it is today than they will when they are in their "prime" earning age 40-50. Also by the time my oldest bro is all done being a low level intern trade lawyer, i will be close to selling off the business and slowing down, which paid for both their degrees.

i think my main point to this rant is to never forget the true entrepreneur and not to work for the title.

By anon54122 — On Nov 27, 2009

If you worry more about money than passion, the love for helping others, then you should not be in the medical profession.

Career pursuits should be determined by what you love to do, regardless of the salary. Wealth must be equally distributed and anyone who loves a profession should pursue that profession. The pay should be the same for everyone. America and capitalism will fail.

By anon53375 — On Nov 20, 2009

Responding to anon46475, you should be careful before you say such things. Funny how bad fortune has a way of coming back to you. good luck. You'll need it.

By anon50750 — On Oct 31, 2009

I've read all of the posts prior to mine and it seems everyone focuses on the hardships and difficulties of becoming a doctor.

I'm a surgeon and I can certainly agree that the four years of college, four years of medical school, and five years of residency with 100-hour weeks throughout were the toughest of my life. I don't expect anyone to care about that, though.

I am a results oriented person. When it comes to your health, so is everyone I've ever treated. I've never had a patient ask me how hard I tried in med school or how tough residency was when I tell them I have to perform major surgery on them or a loved one. They only care if I can do it and do it really well.

There are really good business men and really bad ones. No one whines about how much Warren Buffet or Bill Gates makes and they would gladly choose to have them handle their business needs over some guy in a strip mall.

So here it is, plain and simple: America is founded on free trade and market forces. You go offer the best and brightest young people 15 years of hellish training in exchange for mediocre salaries and massive debt, and then you tell me how comfortable you'll be when you see the guy standing over you with a scalpel 15 years later. Surprisingly, he has a bit of a tremor and is sweating profusely. Why? because the best and the brightest knew better than to go into medicine. This guy had a C- average and isn't very good with his hands but thought medicine was a good fall back plan. He wishes he could join the best and the brightest working on wall street but they don't return his calls and are glad they didn't flush their potential away on a dead end career like surgery.

I went in to surgery to help people when the most need help and I love it! I traded my 20's for it. I haven't had a social life for 10 years, am 160k in medical debt, and don't leave my town for very long so I don't abandon my patients -- and I love it.

But is that really mutually exclusive to wanting to make a comfortable living as well?

By anon48631 — On Oct 13, 2009

As a surgeon in practice for 10 years years I can tell you that we are very underpaid. It took four years of college, four years of medical school, six years of surgery residency (90-120 hour weeks) and two years of fellowship training before I could go out on my own. Not counting my undergraduate education, that adds up to 12 years of brutal training with a huge amount of debt. I missed out on my 20's and early 30's because of the difficult schedule (5 a.m. rounds suck). When I am removing an esophagus that has a tumor invading into the trachea, the patient's life is in my hands and in a blink of an eye that life can be lost. The stress is tremendous but the reward is minimal. Medicare is the absolute worst and soon most docs will no longer accept it because it will not become possible to cover overhead costs. I an not asking for the the millions an actor or athlete makes but it is not unreasonable to be able to make enough to provide for your family and get out of debt.

By anon48481 — On Oct 12, 2009

Poster no. 18: Anyone who says getting in to medical school is the hard part, didn't. Poster no. 14: I didn't know a soul - I, and all of the people I know who went to school, got in the same way: by working harder than the rest of you who didn't.

By anon48479 — On Oct 12, 2009

I haven't slept in three days because I was at my office, then in-house call all night. I left the hospital the following midday and took my wife to brunch for her birthday, but got cut short when one of my OB patients, a 17 year old girl with a complicated pregnancy, went into labor, and I stayed up all night and delivered her baby boy around 5 a.m, but he was born without an anus, so I spent part of the morning arranging emergency surgery, then went back to work and was there longer than I intended because one of the stroke patients I was consulted on had a different neuro exam than I saw several hours prior. So I ended up managing her until the neurosurgeon could take over. Then I worked the rest of the day and went home, visited with my two year old and four year old for about 15 mintues before falling asleep. I got a nap, then got up to do my charting from my clinic patients - had some labs to follow-up. This was my weekend. I still have another week to go before I get a day off, and that will be used to "catch up". This is my life. This has *been* my life for the last nine years. I am only $90,000 in debt because I lived in self-imposed poverty while in college and medical school. I have never taken a vacation and I drive the same car I bought 14 years ago. I make 35K a year because I am a resident. I love my profession. I never wanted to have a 'normal life', and I am certainly not motivated solely by the dollar, but I do look forward to having a nicer life someday. Does that make me so bad? No one seems to have this sort of animosity towards 9-5 investment bankers, but maybe they should. We argue that people who have the skills necessary to save lives make too much money and yet we have no qualms whatsoever about paying people whose only skill is catching and throwing balls millions. Sorry for the poor grammar, I just don't have the energy or brain power right now to concoct a decent non-run-on sentence.

By anon47206 — On Oct 02, 2009

I would say get all the doctors from China and India. Medical care is much better there anyway! I was in China about a week ago, and I got sick, and the doctor refused to take any money, as all he did was check me!

By anon46658 — On Sep 28, 2009

if you are able to get into the medical school, school won't be that hard for you. Everyone has to work hard in his major or study, and not everyone earns as much as doctors. Well, looking from the other perspective, doctors are doing things about life and death. The human body is quite complicated. It is really important for a medical school student to understand details about what he is studying, and remember for the rest of his life for further applications on other related knowledge. For other majors, expertise may not as highly required as being a medical student. What direct life damage will you cause if you put down a wrong phone number as an office secretary? If you are smart enough to get into medical school and earn that much, you better not get into any lawsuits because of malpractice.

By anon46604 — On Sep 27, 2009

I am a physician. The payment per unit of service I provide has declined by about 40 percent since I began practicing 16 years ago, due to Medicare cuts, and decreased payments by insurance companies. That means that unless I see 40 percent more patients each day, my income declines. During that time, the bureaucrats have created increasingly complicated rules that affect my office and my hospital and surgery center, making patient care ever more labor intensive and more expensive. More paperwork, more hoops to jump through and more salaries to pay to get it all done means less time for patient care and more cost. Now our government has decided that electronic medical records are going to fix many of our problems. And they will require that all doctors' offices implement this technology in the near future. As an enthusiastic embracer of technology, I will tell you that this will create as many problems as it will fix. And it will be yet another burden on physicians. I am on call this weekend which ties me down and limits my activities for the weekend. I have been called in to see one patient whose problem was more perceived than real. My time reassured the patient and allowed someone to have a less anxious weekend. The patient's HMO will pay me less than a plumber or electrician gets for a weekend call. No, insurance companies do not pay more than usual for my services after hours or on weekends! The rest of the time on call generates no income and yet prevents the freedom of a normal weekend. Medical economics has taught me something that is less theoretical than this debate. I will work harder and get paid less as time goes by. Experience has proven this. What this means to you as consumers of medical care, I cannot predict. So far it has not reduced the cost of your health care. It has reduced the number of applications to medical school and it has shifted the demographic of who actually applies. The quality of any business, including the health care business, will be determined by the quality of people working in it. As the country debates how to reform health care, we all need to remember that the men and women working in health care will determine the experience of those who receive health care. We must hope that whatever changes we make in our system motivate high quality people to choose health care as a profession.

By anon46475 — On Sep 25, 2009

Medical school is just a brainwash. True health and modern medicine are about as related as Jack Lalanne and an Isreali Wino. Grow up folks. Modern medicine is a huge scam. Doctors kill weekly. Hospital staff too. It's all about the money and the ability to kill without penalty. If America really cared, they would close all tobacco companies. Good health is the responsibility of the individual. Abuse the body with bad habits and you'll find no bagel chomping GP who can reverse your mistakes. He'll swear he can. But BMW payments are his only focus.

By anon45907 — On Sep 21, 2009

The first post is incorrect. i made it through medical training and "knew" no one. I'm a midwest boy, son of a fireman. i just worked hard. i was lucky that math and science came easy. you can get into medical school and residency on your own merit, many people do. i frequently hear things like one post stating doctors should want to work in medicine for altruistic reasons--not reimbursement. Of course their are great physicians who do not *care about the salary *but* there are also some brilliant individuals out there who want to make a lot of money (not a crime yet). these talented individuals will make money; they can do all kinds of stuff; but we need to keep some of them in the field of medicine--it takes money to do that. we have all had someone waiting on us at the local pub, or fixing our toilet, or designing something for us and they were super nice. they loved their job and had a great "bedside manner," but they were not that great technically-- mediocre at best. knock the doctors' salary down enough and that's what you'll get--plenty of nice docs, still some really great ones technically speaking, but fewer will go into medicine. i don't mind having Joe the Plumber mess around with my toilet for 30 percent longer than a better master plumber would, especially if Joe is nice. i don't want to be under general anesthesia 30 percent longer in the hands of a mediocre (but nice) surgeon taking out a benign tumor that the altuistic (but incompetent) radiologist called a cancer. you want the best? you have to pay or do it yourself-- has it been different from this, ever?

By anon45635 — On Sep 18, 2009

I disagree. As a professional Engineer (PE). I have almost as much time in training as a doctor. I applied to medical school with my friends in high school, but did not have the high powered letters of recommendation necessary to get into medical school, so I went into engineering. how many doctors can do analytical calculus? Not many. Doctors get paid so much because of politics. The average person cannot get into medical school without knowing someone.

By anon38392 — On Jul 26, 2009

Doctors shouldn't have to work so hard in the first place for their training. In the first part of their lives they are underpaid. Doctors: The exploited become the exploiters in the second half of their lives. All the money in their bank accounts means the banks can lend more money that drives up the price of our houses. Our mortgage interest becomes the interest in their bank accounts! Messed up government regulation and land ownership laws.

By anon37411 — On Jul 19, 2009

i just was talking to a fairly upper middle class mom who said doctors make too much money. I said, 'they go to school for 12 years, and they are in debt for 20. i don't understand why you wouldnt direct that at movie stars or athletes. -- silence. i am not a doctor. i don't even know one personally but i certainly don't want a doctor to get out of school and think he is not allowed to have a decent living. where did this class envy come from???? its so disappointing. the producers in this country are where we get our tax revenue. certainly not from the non producers or government employees. is that what we want doctors to become?

By anon33995 — On Jun 15, 2009

In the state of Alabama, the opposite is true about malpractice lawsuits. The malpractice laws here are based on a 163 year old code from when we were bleeding people to release evil spirits. Back in the 70's, Alabama was like any state with a lot of malpractice lawsuits but when the Republicans took over, that totally reversed. There are very few malpractice suits filed here because lawyers know they can't win them and talk clients out of it due to the costs and inability to win. In 2007, we had 36 malpractice suits statewide... only three were on and two were overturned on appeal with one being gross negligence.

My mother died as a result of a massive radiation overdose and while everyone was in full agreement that the overdose was malpractice because the radiologist made huge mistakes... I couldn't find one lawyer willing to take my case for malpractice. We even had a medical review board say it was malpractice but the only thing lawyers were willing to do was file wrongful death which would require up to $40,000.00 from me or more because of all the appeals doctors have.

Then two years ago, a doctor put me on incorrect medications that aren't supposed to be mixed. Ruined my health, cost me my job and I lost everything. I am now permanently disabled fighting for Social Security and Medicare and had to fight to get food stamps and help from HUD which gives preferential treatment to women and families over single men. Could I sue? Not one lawyer would take my case even though they and others again confirmed malpractice.

I do not know what states people are from who are blabbering on about what doctors pay for medical malpractice insurance but let me tell you that in my state a large number of people are on disability because of these quacks and here they literally do have a license to kill... and they use that license quite often.

By anon32653 — On May 25, 2009

There is a fourth, and very significant way to reduce the costs of medical practice. The law governing malpractice must be changed to limit the ridiculously large settlements made in the USA, and something must be done to reduce the number of malpractice cases. Part of that would require nuisance suits to be recognized for what they are, and be thrown out.

US citizens are the most litigation prone on the planet.

By anon30861 — On Apr 25, 2009

I am also a bit annoyed by the first comment to this post. My dad is a doctor, and I am an engineer. I have an enormous amount of respect for my dad. He has told me about the years that he was in medical school and residency. He said during those years he was so broke he was meticulous about turning off lights in his tiny apartment so he could save money on his electric bills. He drove an old van for years that only had a driver's seat in it until he met my mom (too much money to put in the additional seats when they weren't needed!)

These people suffer to get to where they are. I think that someone who has to go through a decade of extremely difficult training during which time other people are living a comfortable lifestyle deserve to be paid a lot more than the average person who does not have these special skills.

Also about the "does the engineer save the life by creating the heart monitor" comment, I feel that the heart monitor can only save someone's life if there is someone else there (a doctor) who can interpret what the signals on that heart monitor mean to the patient. Engineers do not directly hold human lives in their hands and they are not often sued by people if their machine or building fails. Doctors are sued by patients all the time. My dad has had 3 trivial lawsuits this year (all 3 he won). Actually one of those lawsuits was caused by a faulty piece of equipment that failed and caused my dad to make a slightly different diagnosis than he would have if the equipment had worked properly. My dad got sued, but the company that made the equipment was ignored.

By anon30855 — On Apr 25, 2009

None of you seem to think of how long it takes for a doctor to finally start making the "attending" level salaries. I am a doctor in a 6th year of post-medical school training, a fellow in a surgical specialty, on 24-hour emergency call *every other day*!!! My current takehome pay, after all the licensing, liability and health insurance fees have been subtracted, is barely exceeding $35,000 a year. This is for someone who is close to 40 years old with 3 children.

Yes, once all the training is completed I expect to make a decent salary. For now, however, I still have medical school debts to pay off and it was not until last year that I was able to upgrade from a Geo Metro to something larger and safer to drive. I suppose people like you think I will be overpaid once I go into private practice. On my part, after working 60-80 hour work weeks all these years, answering countless calls to the trauma bay at 3AM, fixing people's injuries in the operating room regardless of weekends or holidays, and averaging <$20,000 in annual income over the past 10 years, a 6-figure salary sounds like an appropriate compensation.

By anon30179 — On Apr 14, 2009

Why do American doctors make so much? Why do American doctors believe they are entitled to a higher salary than their colleagues in other countries or other professions?

Isn't the satisfaction of doing a good job helping others enough? Do you really want people in any profession working in it just for the money?

As for the comparison with Engineers - how much time and expense in educating a professional (engineer or doctor) can vary considerably depending on the country. Consider this: Does an engineer who designs a stable bridge save each life that crosses it? Will he not be held responsible for the lives lost if that engineer's bridge fails?

Does the Engineer who designs the heart monitor save the life, or does the doctor?

By anon27947 — On Mar 08, 2009

I am an engineer and have friends and family members who are docs. I can truly appreciate the amount of work, persistence, sacrifices that go into becoming a doctor and thereafter.

I think they deserve to be paid better than the rest of us.

By anon26522 — On Feb 14, 2009

To those who suggest that we should increase the supply of doctors, there is one limitation no one seems to mention: you need to be exposed to a large volume of cases to be properly trained, particularly for surgeons.

I would venture to say that places where this volume is present, with the infrastructure to teach it, is limited. Thus increasing supply is not as easy as it sounds...

By anon26480 — On Feb 14, 2009

To Anon,

If you think it's so easy practicing as a doctor, still they make a lot of money...then why don't you by yourself become a doctor.

People just can't become one and keep blaming why do they earn so much.

Try getting admission in Medical School, try living in those stressful years, try studying 12 hours/day for 10-12 years of your life and do nothing else, try working more than 80 hours per week during residency, try going into huge debt, try to imagine your youth was spent just only in books, try clearing medical board exams and getting good residency and fellowship, after all this if you make slightly more than others then its not a big deal.

The amount of sacrifices a doctor makes is never made by engineers, you just want everything for easy.

So my point is if becoming a doctor is so easy, working as a doctor is so easy, still get very high pay scale...then who has told you to become engineer? Just go and join a Medical School...then you will realize where you stand.

By anon25028 — On Jan 22, 2009

Those are very simple solutions to a difficult problem. Medical school classes have not seen a large increase recently. I couldn't tell you why. But to trust each person to self-diagnose seems like a silly idea. Hopefully you should be doing a little bit of that anyway before you decide to go to the doctor... that's one way to keep our healthcare system in decent shape and keep it from being overloaded by wasting physicians' time. My fiance is currently in medical school and the sheer amount of education and work that she puts into it (not even as a resident yet) seems to justify the cost to me. These people are professionals, but it isn't fair to compare it to engineering. Medicine is a practice and inventing a magical "machine" can't account for discrepancies between the biology of individuals. And yes, reading a CAT or MRI or X-Ray is difficult. Normal could be different for each person.

I guess I'm slightly irritated by the first posted comment because doctors are treated differently from engineers and lawyers. I don't think engineers and lawyers have to carry hundreds of thousands (and sometimes millions) of dollars worth of malpractice insurance. Like I said, medicine is a PRACTICE. Yes, doctors make mistakes and sometimes it is their fault but I think I can make a strong case that doctors wouldn't be so expensive if certain types of lawyers were limited...

By anon23743 — On Jan 01, 2009

Why not increase the supply of doctors in this country? Engineers and lawyers also borrow a lot of money to go to school, some borrow upwards of 100k or more but there is no quota on them? Medical school should be no different than any other field of specialty. Engineers and lawyers affect life just as doctors do.

If we included medical education starting from elementary school, then we can learn to self diagnose and not pay doctors $300/hr to prescribe salt-water for a sore throat. Is it really that hard to read x-ray or CAT photos? if you know what a normal one looked like? and have on hand a database of anomalies collected in the past that you can compare with? Should someone be paid $300k a year just to do that? Actually, you can't pay me enough to do the same task repeatedly like that; I would rather be paid to invent a machine to do it, because I am an engineer.

To summarize: Doctors do things that we ordinary people would prefer not to do. Do you want to work with sick people all day? See blood and guts? Cut people open? Listen to complaints? See people at their worst? Tell relatives that their loved ones just died? Imagine telling the same thing to people for common diseases over and over again?

There are only four ways to decrease cost. 1. reduce demand by educating ourselves about common illnesses. 2. increase supply doctors by removing the quota on them. 3. eat healthy and exercise. 4. although life is precious, it is not fair to maintain your life at the cost of the entire society. So write a living will! Hope this helps

Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a Practical Adult Insights contributor...
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