If this question causes you to raise your eyebrows, let me rephrase this.
Why do lawyers charge far more than doctors do ? Both medicine and law are learned professions which have been around for centuries. It takes years of education to qualify as a doctor or a lawyer; and both are service professions.
However, lawyers charge disproportionately more than doctors do. Many lawyers charge as much as Rs 1 lakhs just to appear in court, whether or not they actually argue the case . Moreover, they have a much cushier lifestyle, with very little risk. They work fixed hours and do not have to deal with emergencies. The only skills they need are to draft and to argue, unlike doctors who have to learn how to operate as well !
Even though doctors slog much harder, they still charge much less than lawyers do. Their training is far more grueling and takes much longer. They have to be available at all hours - and are at high risk for being sued , in case something goes wrong ( even if it's not in their control).
Even though they perform a far more useful function than lawyers ( just think - if you were stranded on a desert island, would you rather have a doctor as a companion, or a lawyer ?) , they get paid a pittance. To add insult to injury, patients are always unhappy when paying the doctor and they pay his fees very grudgingly. However, when they need to pay their lawyer, most clients may much larger amounts, without complaining !
Why is this so ? Do we expect doctors to be superhumans , who are meant to slave for their patients without expecting any tangible financial returns ?
I think the reasons are primarily because of the differences in the training doctors and lawyers receive. Lawyers start of by fighting cases at which millions of rupees are at stake. They are used to dealing with large sums of monies - and are quite happy to charge a sizable chunk of this as their fee. After all, if they will millions for their client, why should their client mind giving them a small percentage of this as their fee ? Also, clients who win cases don't mind paying their lawyers, since he has earned so much money for them.
Doctors, on the other hand, are never taught how to handle money or to collect their fees. They are used to working for free during their residency , and never learn to charge what the worth of their services really is ! After all, if doctor saves your life, how do you put a monetary value on the service he has provided ? If I give an infertile couple an IVF baby , whatever they pay me will always be a small fraction of the real worth of the service I have provided them with !
Sadly, many doctors still feel that their ethical standards demand that they should be able to rise "above" the filthy lucre of money. I think this is incorrect. People only value what they have to pay for - and the more they pay, the more they value the service ! Today, doctors take on all the risk of treating patients, without being adequately compensated for their time, expertise and effort.
This is not a sustainable system. People respond to economic incentives; and the next generation of smart students will no longer want to become doctors - they will all become lawyers ! Serves us right !