Doctors... forced to work for free?! (revisited)

Discussion in 'Medical Students - DO' started by SawBones, Dec 5, 2002.

  1. SawBones

    SawBones Transcendentalist
    Physician 7+ Year Member

    Dec 23, 2001
    Likes Received:
    I posted this thread about a year ago. But since that time, SDN Forums has gotten a lot of new members that may offer new have insight into this matter. So, I wanted to post it again to see what kind of thoughts you all have on this matter and what solutions, if any, you can propose.

    The last time I posted this, a lot of students weren't familiar with "ER Call", so let me define that here: ER Call is essentially a rotating call schedule among attending physicians that wish to maintain staff privileges at a hospital. A family doc or general internist (and sometimes specialists), for example, are often REQUIRED to take part in a rotating ER call schedule if they wish to ever utilize a hospital's services for their own patients. In other words, if you want to admit your patient to a hospital AND follow them in the hospital (e.g., get paid for treating them), you must be a part of the ER call system. As part of this ER Call system, on the night you take ER call you are assigned any patients that are admitted through the ER that do not have a primary care physician.

    Now, the original post ...


    Has it ever occurred to any of you that physicians are the only professionals FORCED BY LAW to work for free? I mean, this isn't a money thing -- it's a fairness thing.

    Think about it... If I'm on call for an ER as a primary care physician and an uninsured bulemic herion junkie gets admitted under my name, I am legally obligated to care for this patient even though I get no reimbursement for the care.

    So... let's say I stablize the patient and he is discharged from the hospital. On his way out the door the gets a hankerin' for some more smack, so he walks down the street, breaks into my home, loots the place and then proceeds to rape and shoot my wife. Now let's say he gets arrested. The district attorney who will defend this dirtball will get paid to defend him (paid by the government), but my services in the hospital were completely free.

    So what did I earn by treating this patient? Only one thing... the opportunity to be sued.

    Hmmm.... Does anyone else see a problem with this?


    UPDATE since original post: This problem has finally come-to-light in my community. Doctors in my area have been dropping ER call (and thus, losing their hospital privileges) because fewer than 40% of ER call patients are insured (in our city). Community hospitals are facing a crisis... what are they going to do with all of these uninsured patients that are admitted through the ER? And how will they handle losing all of the physicians that are resigning their hospital privileges to avoid ER call?
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...

Share This Page