Thursday, March 20, 2008

Medical Students Don't Want to Be Primary Care Doctors. The Money is in Botox and Eye Lifts.

Did you know that there's a shortage of family doctors in America? Today's top-tier medical students are fighting to get into the most competitive residencies: dermatology and plastic surgery. These fields offer the best hours and the biggest paychecks. Not surprisingly, they are attracting the most ambitious and successful students with the highest medical board scores.

“It is an unfortunate circumstance that you can spend an hour with a patient treating them for diabetes and hypertension and make $100, or you can do Botox and make $2,000 in the same time,” said Dr. Eric C. Parlette, 35, a dermatologist in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.

We're not saying that dermatology and plastic surgery aren't legitimate and valuable professions, but will anyone deny that the skyrocketing popularity of these fields is at least in part (and we'll argue that it's a big part) a reflection of how our culture values physical appearance over everything else? Those values are now evident in our health care system, which could certainly do with a makeover anyway. [New York Times]

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