Friday, June 16, 2006

Why I don't want my daughter to become a doctor

My parents are doctors, and so am I. Since I have a successful practise, most of my friends assume that I would want my daughters to become doctors too. After all, they would have a ready-made practise they could walk into; and this would be a valuable asset we could provide them for their future. I am sure they would make good doctors too - when the dinner-table conversation is all about patients and medicine, doctor's children usually learn a lot about practising medicine by osmosis ! However, I am doing my best to discourage my daughter from taking up medicine because I don't feel it's a wise career decision for her . What's my rationale ?
While my personal medical practise has been very satisfying and gratifying, and I am very happy that I am a doctor, I am afraid that the circumstances under which doctors will practise medicine 10 years from now in India ( which is about how long it will take her to start practise ) will be very different.
I feel Indian medical practise will go downhill, the way it has in the US . Everything will be driven by HMOs and health plans. Doctors will have to spend half their lives on paperwork; or arguing with clerks about the "medical necessity" of the treatment their patients need. They will have little autonomy, as third party payers will tell them what they are allowed to do for their patients - and what they are not allowed to do. While the emotional income of doctors can be superb, I feel this too will take a beating, because patients will no longer regard the medical profession in the high regard which they do today. This is why so many doctors in the US are retiring in their 40s, because they are sick and tried of bureaucratic interference and the ever-present threat of medical malpractise.
I am also worried about the growing impact of the corporate hospital sector in the country. It will be difficult for doctors to establish an independent medical practise - and working for a corporate hospital is as bad as working for any other corporate which is concerned only with its bottomline.
The other worrying trend is the increasing encroachment of the government on medical practise. Governmental interference and regulation has increased manifold, and is set to increase even further. Unfortunately, doctors have not been able to unite against this political interference .
Finally, the progressive reservation of postgraduate seats in medical colleges means that the entire Indian medical educational system is sick. Products of this sick system are likely to be incompetent and poorly prepared.
So, if I don't want her to become a doctor, what do I want her to become ?
I'll discuss this in my next post.

1 comment:

  1. hello doctor,
    i just saw ur post about ur daughter whom u dont want to become a doctor.i am just keen to know what u want ur daughter to become.
    i completed my mbbs and doing my internship.i am confused whether to go to usa for residency or to appear for civil services.
    any suggestion doctor?


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