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Doctor Debt: Student loans article

Er... is there any doubt why physicians are flocking to cosmetic medicine?

Young doctors in debt

Chris and Meg Reis are on their way to long medical careers. Now it's time to deal with $500,000 in student loans.

It's all supposed to pay off, of course. Once they become full-fledged doctors (attending physicians, in the trade), they'll have six-figure incomes, more reasonable hours, a respected occupation and work that they love.

But for this generation of doctors, and for Meg and Chris in particular, financial security won't come guaranteed with their medical licenses. As health-care economics squeeze physician salaries, rising college and med school tuitions are putting young doctors ever deeper in the hole.

Chris and Meg live frugally, work hard and are making the kind of investments in their future that would make any parent proud. But they're also on track to finish their medical training in the next few years with a staggering $700,000 in debt.

And in the near term, their austere, stressful and sleep-deprived lives are about to grow even more so. Meg, 28, is due to have their first child in November. Although they've lined up day care, they still aren't sure about babysitting help for the early mornings and late nights that they'll both be working.


Reader Comments (2)

Of coarse there are no comments. Nobody wants to address this issue.

01.6 | Unregistered CommenterRobert

The system of medical education in the United States must change. Word has gotten out to the students that the pot of gold is no longer sitting at the end of the "rainbow." And by "rainbow" I mean the indentured servitude that residency represents. As far as cheap labor goes, you can't do better than motivated, top of their class residents. The system grinds them down because they tolerate it, thinking that they can relax for the rest of their life in relative comfort if they just get through this stalinist torture. Hospital heads are delighted with the economic bonanza of resident labor (which, as businessmen they should be), but my real contempt is reserved for the older docs who have gone through the system and have the "i got through it and came out an emotional cripple, so should they" attitude. The view that 100 hour workweeks are necessary to produce capable physicians is laughable (and don't tell me that this is a thing of the past because of residency hours restrictions. i teach at ucla and trust me, residents routinely under-record their hours in order to get by the restrictions). "Humanistic" is the new buzzword in medical education. Contrary to the belief of some surgical residency heads, it cannot be beaten into residents. If residents are treated like human beings, they will treat patients with compassion. If residents are mistreated by their bosses, they will pass the pain down to their patients. All it takes is hiring NPs and PAs to cover the scut work and a zero tolerance policy of abuse and we are done. But the system does not change easily...

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