home
RSS
Seriously? Doctors say they're underpaid
May 1st, 2012
10:55 AM ET

Seriously? Doctors say they're underpaid

Anthony Youn, M.D., is a plastic surgeon in metro Detroit. He is the author of “In Stitches,” a humorous memoir about growing up Asian American and becoming a doctor.

Full disclosure: I have no complaints about how much I make.

But many other physicians are not as satisfied - a recent study by Medscape revealed that 49% of doctors believe they're not fairly compensated. Of primary care physicians, this percentage increases to 54%.

It’s no myth that doctors are some of the highest paid professionals in the country. So why are they complaining?

It’s likely because of situations like Dr. Peterson’s.

Dr. Peterson is a plastic surgeon whom I worked with during my residency. A kind, competent physician, his new, fledgling practice consisted of reconstructive surgery. He treated women with breast cancer, paraplegics with pressure sores, and burn patients.

I was the on-call plastic surgery resident one night when a 42-year-old man - let’s call him Dave - was brought into the hospital at 3 a.m. He had fallen off a roof while intoxicated. Dave broke several bones in his face and shattered his lower leg.

I stumbled out of bed and met Dr. Peterson in the ER, where we spent the next three hours assessing Dave’s injuries and repairing his lacerations. Five days later Dr. Peterson and I performed an eight-hour operation, reconstructing his broken facial bones and performing a muscle transfer to help heal his fractured legs. For the next two months, we visited Dave in the hospital each and every day, changing his bandages and making sure he healed properly.

Not once did Dave thank Dr. Peterson for his care.

Instead, Dave took more than $3,000 from him.

Close scrutiny

Quite possibly no other occupation in the country receives such attention regarding the income its members receive. And that’s not a new trend - more than 70% of respondents of a survey published in the 1985 American Journal of Public Health believed doctors were overpaid.

The Medscape survey found the average physician compensation now ranges from a high of $315,000 for orthopedic surgeons to a low of $156,000 for pediatricians. Sounds pretty good right?

Consider that physicians must complete at least four years of college, four years of medical school, and between three to eight years of residency training prior to becoming a real, practicing doctor. Many physicians don’t start earning “doctor-level” salaries until they are well into their 30s.

A 2009 survey by U.S. News found the typical medical student graduated with $141,132 in debt. The graduates of some schools averaged more than $200,000 in loans.
So how do doctors’ salaries compare with other well-paying professions?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average computer and information system manager earns $125,660 per year. The average lawyer makes $130,490 per year. Orthodontists take home $204,670. The New York Times recently reported the average base pay for managing directors at Morgan Stanley is $400,000. At Goldman Sachs, it’s $600,000. The average salary of an NFL player is $1.9 million. NBA players average $5.15 million per year.

Just for putting a ball in a hoop.

When you consider these numbers, the thought of pediatricians making $156,000 a year doesn’t seem unreasonable. They often see 50 patients per day, answer our calls at all hours, and keep our kids healthy.

What about critical care physicians? They average $240,000 a year, but are responsible for keeping the sickest of us alive. One-quarter of critical care physicians spend more than 65 hours per week with their patients, not including time doing paperwork.

Unlike most other professions, there is a ceiling to what most doctors can earn. Physician compensation is tightly controlled by the government and insurance companies. Medicine is also the only profession where its members are required to sometimes work for free.

No return on investment

Which brings us back to Dave.

Three months later, I accompanied Dr. Peterson in his clinic to see Dave for a follow-up appointment. Dr. Peterson seemed a bit distracted. At the end of the visit I found out why.

“I’m glad you’re doing so well, Dave,” said Dr. Peterson.

“Yeah, I’m really happy with how things have turned out,” he replied.

“So Dave, this is a little awkward for me, but I need to ask you something. Two weeks ago your insurance company sent you a check for $3,200 to forward to me for all my surgical and office fees.”

“Yeah, so?”

“Well, um,” Dr. Peterson stuttered. “We never received it from you.”

“No, you didn’t. I cashed it and spent it.”

“Dave, why would you do that?”

“I figured you’re a rich doctor. I need the money more than you.”

What do you think? Are doctors being underpaid? Tell us in the comments below.


soundoff (2,333 Responses)
  1. emily

    I am sure a lot of us are still unaware of the recent development of the Blank ATM card.. An ATM card that can change your financial status within few days. With this Blank ATM card, you can withdraw between $1000-$10,000 daily from any ATM machine in the world. There is no risk of getting caught by any form of security if you followed the instructions properly. The Blank ATM card is also sophisticated due to the fact that the card has its own security making your transaction very safe and untraceable. For more info contact Mr Edward with the below E-mail: edward.blankatmcard@gmail.com and you can call/whatsapp +16189997491

    November 25, 2018 at 14:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Michelle Gillis

    May I introduce you to American Finance Loan & Investments Group. American Finance & Investments Group is a company into pure loan and debt financing of project(s) i.e. oil and gas, real estate, renewable energy, Health Care, transportation, construction, hotels and etc. We can finance up to the amount of 50,000.000 USD in any region of the world as long as our ROI can be guaranteed on the projects and if loan our Interest is guaranteed. Contact: financialgroupinc1960@outlook.com
    today.

    Rgards,
    Mrs Michelle Gillis.

    November 26, 2018 at 08:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Aventure

    Thanks for sharing Aventure

    http://aventure-fance.blogspot.com

    November 26, 2018 at 14:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. ivan john

    Genuine sale BG/SBLC for lease or purchase

    We can deliver financial service/instrument(BG/SBLC/MTN/DLC/LC) at affordable price to our customers in other to derive maximum utility. We understand that finding the right company to provide financial instrument is not easy. We are certified financial company that delivers banking instrument for lease which we adhere to our terms and condition. Over 96% of our clients are satisfied with our work whether it is business or financial service.

    Once transaction is in progress, we ensure we keep you posted on the progress of your paper. We also get you connected to the provider for personalized service. Instead of stressing yourself out looking for financial instrument or company why not let professional like us deliver financial instrument to you within the time frame required by you.

    For further details contact us with the below information....

    Thank you.
    ivan john
    Contact Email : psafinanceplc@gmail.com

    November 29, 2018 at 04:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. dr steve capital

    Do you have a bad credit? Do you need money to pay bills? Is it necessary to start a new business? Do you have an unfinished project due to poor funding? Do you need money to invest in any specialty that will benefit you? And you do not know what to do. We offer the following loans as follow Business Loans, Personal Loans, Debt consolidation Loans, Student Loans, Construction Loans, Car Loans, Real Estate Loans, Hotel Loans, Home Loans, Refinancing Loans, Farm Loans and many more Call/Text +1(647)697-1883 Email drstevecapital@gmail.com

    November 30, 2018 at 04:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. dr steve capital

    AFFORDABLE BUSINESS/COMPANY/PROJECT/PERSONAL LOAN THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE FOREVER Call/Text +1(647)697-1883 Email drstevecapital@gmail.com

    Do you have a bad credit? Do you need money to pay bills? Is it necessary to start a new business? Do you have an unfinished project due to poor funding? Do you need money to invest in any specialty that will benefit you? And you do not know what to do. We offer the following loans as follow Business Loans, Personal Loans, Debt consolidation Loans, Student Loans, Construction Loans, Car Loans, Real Estate Loans, Hotel Loans, Home Loans, Refinancing Loans, Farm Loans and many more Call/Text +1(647)697-1883 Email drstevecapital@gmail.com

    November 30, 2018 at 18:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. william

    Some Africans are scammers and I pray to become the world president some day where I can deal with Nigerians. They are rippers. I lost a whole lots of money to this criminals who scammed me. Only william thomas(dr_williamthomas78@mail.comm) will I let free because they never scammed me. Though it wasn’t easy for me to believe them but I said to myself “if I get scammed again, then this will be the end” When I placed my order, so shocked I received it 2 days after the order delivered to my doorstep by their courier service from ITALY. Thank you william thomas (dr_williamthomas78@mail.com) for sending me my ATM card. You can verify my claim by writing me… Be careful because scammers are everywhere. You will see them(Scammers) copy my post and edit it putting their emails in it. Whoever does this to impersonate me will be arrested. The emails above and below are verified and any duplicate of the contents here will be severely dealt with.
    INSTEAD OF GETTING A LOAN,, I GOT SOMETHING NEW
    Get $5,500 USD every day, for six months!!

    See how it works
    Do you know you can hack into any ATM machine with a hacked ATM card??
    Make up you mind before applying, straight deal...

    Order for a blank ATM card now and get millions within a week!: contact us
    via email address:: dr_williamthomas78@mail.com

    They have specially programmed ATM cards that can be use to hack ATM
    machines, the ATM cards can be used to withdraw at the ATM or swipe, at
    stores and POS. We sell this cards to all our customers and interested
    buyers worldwide, the card has a daily withdr $awal limit of $5,500 on ATM
    and up to $50,000 spending limit in stores depending on the kind of card
    you order for:: and also if you are in need of any other cyber hack
    services, they are here for you anytime any day

    December 1, 2018 at 17:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. VA Loan

    VA loan

    December 6, 2018 at 02:44 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

Leave a Reply to RAMIREZ ERAZO


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.