In the BCMJ 2003; 45(5):210 I agreed with Dr George Price (BCMJ 2003; 45:72-73) “that if good clinical teachers are to be re-recruited, they will have to be accorded compensation commensurate with their contributions.” Dr H.E. Woolley was quick to ask: “Must all professional activity be seen in materialistic terms?” (BCMJ 2003; 45:304) (It seems that I have my own private devil’s advocate. Perhaps I should feel flattered.) I must answer Dr Woolley’s question in the affirmative.
With the help of a number of colleagues, including Dr Woolley, I ran a clinical teaching program at the old Grace Hospital for over 15 years. Of course we were proud of our efforts. But our only extrinsic reward was an occasional ego massage. Also we attended countless patients “pro bono publico.” Medical practice in those days was fulfilling and pleasant, and we tried to show our appreciation.
Today doctors must endure constant interference by administrators and bureaucrats, all of whom are well paid. Every few years the profession must enter into a prolonged battle with government and come out with a fee schedule that falls farther and farther behind the cost of living. Can we seriously expect practising doctors to offer their time and talent gratis, while GFTs are receiving six-figure salaries for doing the same work?
Alas, Ewart, we no longer live in Chaucer’s England, in Osler’s Canada (USA and Britain), or even in Woolley and Krisman’s British Columbia.
—A. Krisman, MD
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Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.
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