We must lower a medical doctor’s salary and prestige in this new world of health care

Before graduating high school, a friend of mine wanted to become a doctor. She ended up pursuing a career in investment banking. I knew this friend would never become a doctor– she’s not compassionate or altruistic and never had any interest in healing or saving people. She wanted to become a doctor because doctors made money.

A neurosurgeon I know makes well over a million dollars a year. A dentist I know makes well over 600 dollars a day. Neither of these two people are very good to their parents or siblings. If they can’t treat their own relatives well, I wonder how they’re treating their patients.

All my life, I’ve gone to doctors who don’t hesitate in prescribing antibiotics for me. Two years ago, an otolaryngologists prescribed antibiotics for me to treat my nasty case of viral bronchitis. The last I checked, antibiotics don’t work against viruses. In April 2014, a doctor prescribed antibiotics to treat my nonexistent urinary tract infection (my urine sample came back negative for bacteria). 

When I was a student physical therapist, a respected doctor in a Brooklyn hospital ordered for me to walk patient. This patient was writhing in pain. She was recently diagnosed with metastatic cancer in every bone of her legs. If I had followed the doctor’s orders, I could have caused the patient to fracture the bones in her legs.

I can not begin to tell you how much I disrespect medical doctors for their lack of common sense, bedside manners, compassion, and respect for other health professions. Medical doctors see themselves as everyone else’s superior. They talk down to their patients and their colleagues. They demand higher and higher salaries. They laugh when other professionals call themselves doctors. A group of medical residents ridiculed me when I called myself Dr. Lieu. I’m a doctor of physical therapy, mind you, who has gone through six years of schooling and 24 weeks of clinical rotations prior to graduation. I made less than $56,000 at my first job. Since then, I’ve touched and enhanced hundreds of lives and never killed one.

How many medical doctors and medical residents can honestly say that they have never directly or indirectly killed their patient(s)? How many medical doctors smile at their patients, know their names, or even touch their patients? A year ago, I complained of flank pain that could possibly be related to a kidney infection. The urologist I went to did not touch my back, not even once.

Lower the salaries of medical doctors and you’ll get people who really want to make a difference, save lives, and treat people, apply for medical school. Lower the cost of medical school. Lower the prestige associated with the MD or surgeon title and you’ll have humble clinicians who see their patients as fellow human beings. Nurses and physical therapists become their peers, not subordinates. You’ll have a world where less patients die. Bedside manners improve drastically. And you won’t have doctors like Sandeep Jauhar complaining on the New York Times that “Nurses aren’t doctors,” and that doctors are paid too little, and that doctors should always lead primary care teams.

Health care and the world is changing. We don’t need more doctors like Sandeep Jauhar. We need humble and dedicated health professionals whose main goal is to treat patients like fellow human beings. People who want to work in a team and not always as the leader. You’d be surprised how smart nurses and physical therapists are, Dr. Jauhar. For one, we would never quote a study that was published in 1999 to make a point in the year 2014. (Read his article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/30/opinion/nurses-are-not-doctors.html)

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