Saturday, May 09, 2009

Who wants to become a doctor?
Evidently, not too many people, as this ToI report notes.

It takes ten years of sustained, punishing, high-risk training of the finest minds to make a trained specialist (obstetrician, surgeon, pathologist); fourteen if you want a 'super' specialist (cardiologist, brain surgeon). The results these days, despite the risk, can be quite impressive.
The only known 'de-risker' we know? The calibre and training of the mind-hand holding the scalpel.

About 15 years ago, Maharashtra created a new 'super-risk': a line of mantris and babus of the command-and-control dispensation, for whom doctors were slave labour.
Clever policies and incentives ensued: mandatory rural postings, endless exams, shifting universities, disappearance of teaching seats, and, of course, increasing reservations.

The finest minds have voted with their feet. Should we be surprised?


iamfordemocracy said...

It is too easy to see the respect a Dr. gets. It is easy to envy her/him. It is not that easy to imagine and appreciate the effort and the discipline that leads to the achievement (of the degree and expertise).

In the developed world, not many opt for the difficult academic pursuits. The good conclusion is that India is well on its way to that status. The bad part is that many poor people will have to go without a compassionate medical care, and most other will have to shell out disproportionate money for it (medical care). The medical professionals who paid through their nose for getting the degree will want to recoup those expenses first, then get enough to join their peers in wealthy clubs next. Only a few will think in the compassionate manner most medicos of 50's and 60's thought.

The reservations will benefit a few hundreds each year. The aggressive religions will promote their agenda in the process, but the poor of India will suffer. None of the observations in the article are unexpected or shocking.

AGworld said...


Doctors in the 50-70s *were* a lot more compassionate but not for any inherent goodness of their hearts.

The reality is that incentives matter.
Back in those days, someone graduating as a doctor was immediately assured of a very respectable income along with the status fairly quickly in a reasonabale amount of time (road to becoming a doc was not as long winded -- it was shorter: some 5+3 years).

With economic changes, other jobs came along -- like being in a call center at 22 -- that allow you to make more with less.

It is not so much a 'fault' of the market as it is a policy failure in investing in keeping medicine -- a critical profession -- THE place to go for the best and brightest.

This is yet another example, of how our policies have created scarcity from fecundity, such that only the rich can afford services.

Water, electricity, safe public transport, are other examples that come to mind.
Now add to that your doctor and your army/police. charming.

Siddharth Pereira said...

There is a way. Mumbai Voices at is a gret social network only for Mumbai. You have to check it out if you really want to save mumbai