When doctors talk tough to doctors

July 20, 2011

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IN HER column “Part-time doctors, full-time patients’’ (g, July 18), Dr. Suzanne Koven showed quite a bit of restraint in not calling out Dr. Karen Sibert, an anesthesiologist who has suggested that doctors should suck it up and simply work impossibly long hours or get out of medicine. Koven was kind in not pointing out that Sibert’s choice of specialty medicine might shape her viewpoint.

Many young people going into medicine these days are told by senior doctors that if they want to make any money, they need to hit the ROAD (radiology, ophthalmology, anesthesiology, or dermatology). The message is communicated that, since there is no money and too much misery in primary care, young physicians should elect to save themselves by pursuing one of the types of practice that pay the best.

With all that extra income, Sibert certainly has the option of hiring a lot of extra help to make her life more manageable. So her message to her physician peers to stop whining rings hollow.

Dr. Helen Meldrum

The writer is an associate professor of psychology at Bentley University.