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unhappiness in anesthesia

Discussion in 'Anesthesiology' started by ophtho2b, Apr 10, 2007.

  1. ophtho2b

    ophtho2b New Member

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    Dear members,
    I am new to this thread and recently switched into anesthesia from another field. I have a question for the practicing residents and anesthesiologists out there. I am doing an anesthesia rotation right now in a transitional year program and all the anesthesiologists out here at this hospital are just bitter, mean, and totally unhappy with their work. They complain constantly and this is so very disheartening before I enter into the field. Maybe its just the group out here but they are very discouraging :(
    I chose anesthesia out of interest and because it is total applied medicine--pharm, cardio, phys, anatomy. Does the work really get brutal and unappreciative after a while of practicing? Why are so many of them so very sad?
     
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  3. Planktonmd

    Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved

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    Your questions have been answered many times on this forum, just do an archive search.
     
  4. VentdependenT

    VentdependenT You didnt build thaT
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    sound like a bunch of cry babies
     
  5. VolatileAgent

    VolatileAgent Livin' the dream

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    giving anesthesia is tiring. yes, it's tiring. it takes a special person to sit there for hours... you know the saying, hours of boredom - moments of terror. most people not in the field do not realize that. when i have rotators with me (med students and residents from other fields), they are inevitably yawning by early afternoon and/or asking if they can be excused. i see it all the time.

    a common analogy about giving anesthesia is that it's like flying a plane. i actually think it's more like driving an 18-wheeler on a long haul. when's the last time you went on a long drive? (i mean a several hour car trip.) once you pack the car, gas up, and navigate to the highway, you are then sitting there for hours. but, you have to pay attention. you can't let your eyes of the road, even if you're on cruise control. you never know when someone's going to swerve in front of you, or whether or not a big thunderstorm is going to kick up.

    now, imagine doing that every day of the week for 8+ hours.

    my acid test for future wanna-be anesthesiologists is just that: imagine going on a long car ride every day. if you can't stand sitting in a car for long stretches, this isn't the field for you. think about that before you choose anesthesia. that's what this profession is like.
     
  6. The_Sensei

    The_Sensei Banned
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    Anesthesiology is an awesome field; I have never regretted my decision for a second. I can infer from your name that you switched from opthalmology. Was this for any particular reason? Did you not match and now you are "stuck" with anesthesia? That may certainly color your perceptions.

    Getting back to the bitter fags at your institution........ignore 'em - most anesthesiologists love what they do.
     
  7. huron

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    In case you did not notice the search function on this forum is garbage.

    I am bored with Anesthesia it is the same crap every day.

    Most places you are a nurse replacement so you are treated with no respect, the surgeons want instantaneous room turn over so the lifestyle sucks, you are always being pushed to work faster. The place I am at has warm lunch in the OR doctors lounge but 2/3 of the days I never get time to eat. Heaven forbid a surgeon might have to wait five minutes between cases so you can grab a bite to eat. Plus every where you go they want you to take call. Working all night and not getting the next day off sucks but many places that's the way they run the call schedule.

    I can work steadily making good money, but the proliferation Anesthesia management company crooks prevent me from getting a job as group leader in a small town. Everywhere I look anesthesia groups are run by a$$holes or crooks, I have done some locums and every where you go there is another unbelievable story about how the dishonest leader of a group stole from the people doing the work.
     
  8. johankriek

    johankriek Banned
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    you aint kiddin!!! I see the same thing. Medicine in general is this way Anesthesia in particular breeds this. This is the most unattractive part of the specialty
     
  9. mille125

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    i dont understand why you still do anesthesia...i have read several of your posts about anesthesia and pain management...you seem to be very unhappy...i dont know if i could continue something that made me so unhappy no matter what the salary was (but that is just me)...life is too short to spend so much time unhappy
     
  10. EtherMD

    EtherMD Banned
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    $400,000 per year! You do realize this is a lot of money. Someone spent a lot of study and years of work to get to the point of being able to earn that salary. Here is what I propose: You go work in construction for 2 weeks then 2 more weeks in the "food industry." I guarantee you will be much happier in the O.R. and appreciative.

    I hear from my German colleagues what they earn in Germany. Same thing in Britain, France, Italy, Canada, etc. Many would give you a kidney to get the chance to earn $400,000. If you miss lunch or work post-call then deal with it. When Obama gets his hands on Medicine you will LONG for the good old days. The time to earn a living is NOW so go to work, do a good job and realize these times may not last much longer.
     
  11. Disciple

    Disciple Senior Member

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    C'mon.

    You, don't actually think he's going to win, do you?:scared:
     
  12. EtherMD

    EtherMD Banned
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    You live in Texas, right? I live in the South as well and I get to see hundreds of Mexicans working like DOGS in 100 degree plus heat doing construction.
    They do roofing, drywall, stucco, etc. anything that earns a decent wage.
    They have a legitimate reason to be complaining about life. We sit in an air-conditioned O.R. earning more than HUNDRED times their wage. We have the best of everything including food, clothing, houses, cars, medicine, etc. and they barely survive day to day. So, stop complaining and realize life is good.:thumbup: I recommend a good psychotherapist or counselor to deal with his issues and fortunately, he has the money to pay for one.
     
  13. mille125

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    i agree
     
  14. mille125

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    personally, ether, i would rather make 100-200K and enjoy my job and spend time with my family. If you gave me 400K and told me that I would hate my job and hardly see my family, I would not take it.
     
  15. EtherMD

    EtherMD Banned
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    Fine. But this is spoken by someone who can live on that level of income.
    A new graduate with $150,000 in debt, an old Pinto and 2 kids needs to earn a real wage. After Uncle Sam takes his piece of the action $100,000 does not cut the mustard for this individual.

    I employ CRNA's that work very hard (65 hours a week) to get the "extra" money to pay off loans, buy a home, etc. Once established most cut back on the hours. My advice to ANYONE is go to work, do a good job and save your money. Then, once you have paid back what you owe and own a few of life's essentials the "personal satisfaction" card can be played. Of course, there are those that would prefer to complain about everything in life rather than do something about it. Money=Options and until you get some those options are limited. So, those who can earn a good living should do so because President Obama has an agenda for medicine: Socialization.
    "Make hay while the sun shines" is a very applicable saying for Huron.
     
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  17. mille125

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    So i guess family practitioners, internists, and pediatricians are doomed (starting at 80K-120K).
     
  18. salmonella

    salmonella Gram-Negative Rods

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    If you want to make more money, simply hire more CRNAs. Have them work, do the scut work and make the money for you!
     
  19. Planktonmd

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    Exactly!
    What a brilliant idea!
    :D
     
  20. EtherMD

    EtherMD Banned
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    Those making a lot less money and working just as hard or harder would appear to have more reason to be "unhappy" that those earning $400,000.
    Money isn't everything but it sure counts for a lot.

    My point is that Anesthesia pays extremely well compared to most things.
    If you focus on the positive and realize how good you have it "unhappiness" becomes less of a concern. This is why a few weeks in fast food or construction would really help to prove my point. At least, high compensation gives you options that most people don't get in life.
     
  21. EtherMD

    EtherMD Banned
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    No. Just more likely to be unhappy.
     
  22. bobg504

    bobg504 Senior Member

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    You should be directing this comment to huron, the practicing anesthesiologist. The poster that you are quoting was simply asking huron why he does anesthesia if is so bad. I completely agree with what you said. Additionally, I think folks forget that doctors make WAYY more money than average people. I have noticed that doctors are the first people to tell someone how much their lives such......as they get in their 6 SERIES BMW and drive to their 5,000sq home. It really kills me! I grew up in a single parent household where my mother made like $30,000 and had to feed 3 children. In short, doctors need to STOP BITCHIN! Bottomline is if you don't like your job, DONT DO IT!
     
  23. Blue Dog

    Blue Dog Fides et ratio.
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    Don't count on it. Just like you guys, most of us love what we do.

    Trying to tell somebody else how much money it should take to make them happy seems sorta presumptuous, don'cha think? ;)
     
  24. fakin' the funk

    fakin' the funk ASA Member

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    Wow.
     
  25. mille125

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    ether is an idiot sometimes...............
     
  26. VolatileAgent

    VolatileAgent Livin' the dream

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    sometimes? he's the don imus of this forum.
     
  27. Planktonmd

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    If you feel that you are underpaid I don't see how you can be happy!
    for example the hospitalists I interact with don't strike me as being a happy bunch.
     
  28. morpheus md

    morpheus md Interventional Pain 09-10

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    Wow, are you telling me that you have to work hard to make $400,000/yr? That's outrageous! May or may not apply to you personally, but I know some people who would not be happy professionally no matter what they do.
     
  29. Blue Dog

    Blue Dog Fides et ratio.
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    Anyone who is truly satisfied with their income is probably overpaid. ;)
     
  30. The_Sensei

    The_Sensei Banned
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    Not at all, fella;)
     
  31. The_Sensei

    The_Sensei Banned
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    OR truly satisfied with their income!;)
     
  32. asdf11

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    I have been practicing for many years, and I can truly say that I love the field. One of the things that is great about anesthesia is that you can control the way you practice. If you don't like long cases, go work at a surgicenter. Same thing goes for not liking long hours - work as a locum and make up what hours you want to work. Yes, if you want to make big bucks you will need to put in long hours. If this is a suprise to you, then you clearly are not living in the real world. In addition, no matter how great a specialty may be, there are good places to work and bad ones. That is why you have to be careful where you choose to work, and switch out if it doesn't work out. Sounds like the people who work at the place the original poster is at should send out their CVs.
     
  33. Enrico81

    Enrico81 Old member with few posts

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    I had the same experience as yours in the university hospital I graduated from - now I'm doing my residency in another hospital, and the working environment is totally different. I think it only depends on the setting that has developed in that particular hospital: the quality of the work, the anesthesia personnel attitude towards life, etc. I agree it's very disheartening but remember, it's not the same everywhere.
     
  34. USAFsoldier

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    I was Google-ing a doctor's view of what unhappiness is when I accidentally came across this forum. There is just a message I wanted to pass onto you, the "educated" part of society.

    My name is Kyle Green. I have a bachelors in computer science, and a bachelors in mechanical engineering. I currently work enlisted in the united states air force because it's a family tradition and I enjoy the work.

    You're complaining about making $400,000 a year. Every time you complain about that I want you to remember something. I will make the assumption that a majority of you are American since you mentioned Obama in a previous post. There are millions of people out there who put their lives on the line, degrade their health, lose friends faster than you lose patients, and all for $12,000 to $30,000 a year. We're never home. We don't see our families. We see murders, bombs, attacks of all sorts. We deal with snipers, land mines, tanks, artillery.

    We do this for people like you, who couldn't, or wouldn't. So, moneybags, next time you get a monthly paycheck of roughly $33,000, I want you go to complain to a service member of ANY service of ANY country on the planet about your terrible work conditions. I'll be sure to keep you in mind next time I'm in the desert in 150 degree weather without food and water hunting down someone who killed a coworker of mine.

    Why don't you take your unhappiness and shove it. I feel for ya, I really do. It must be terrible not to have time to eat your lunch before you go home at the end of the day to your loft and your designer furniture. Yeah you might have a $150,000 in loans, so do I. So what makes us different? Oh just about $370,000 a year. :thumbdown: You fail, you're fired.

    If this angers you, please attack me directly. You can reach me at kyle.green at dyess.af.mil
    I'd love to hear from you.


    PS - Those of you who fear socialization of medicine, I recommend you watch the Michael Moore video "Sicko" where a British doctor, working for NHS drives a brand new Audi and lives in a (equivalent) $1,000,000 home. Socialized or not, the medical field will do just as well, and the population will in theory have improved care. You likely won't be worked to the bones any more either since a doctor won't see $$$ floating over every patients head. Case in point, quit bitching you pansies and grow a set of balls and act like a real man. You're acting like those drama queen gay guys.
     
  35. InductionAgent

    InductionAgent Senior Member

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    I have no complaints about the working conditions of anesthesiologists. I agree it's not all that bad. I also appreciate your service to our country.

    On the other hand - as you mentioned, you VOLUNTEERED for military service. There's no draft going on. So you can stop complaining about your working conditions as well.
     
  36. Surfer

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    if you're in the AF you're probably not in the desert in 150 degree heat chasing bad men who killed your friends right?

    socialized medicine is exactly what you're supposed to be fighting against. it is the antithesis of freedom.
     
  37. amyl

    amyl ASA Member

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    since this thread what somewhat hijacked anyway and socialized medicine came up....

    Does anyone think that the government is doing a good job....at anything? What ever you are for or against, do you think the government handles it in an efficient, useful, expeditious way? Do you think they do a good job of managing the roads, policing drugs, national security, welfare or welfare reform or gun control or whatever you are personally for?
    ....or do you think they basically f__k it up? do you think there is a ton of waste, a horribly inept bureaucracy...etc.
    I personally think they don't do such a great job...I think they mostly f it up...so why should they be in charge of medicine too?

    I am working at the county health department this month...the patients complain and complain about not getting an appointment for months, waiting forever for the labs, the chart to come down, this or that isn't covered, blah blah blah....
    I say "welcome to socialized medicine, Karl Marx at his best! This member of the bourgeoisie working for you, the hero, the proletariat...this is what you all wanted...this is it." Of course about half of them are crack whores (not Marx's championed working class) so I don't think they understand, but it makes me feel better.
     
  38. Planktonmd

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    The choices that you make are entirely YOUR CHOICES!
    When you decided to be in the military because of "family traditions" you didn't do that because you expected others to appreciate it, you did it because it was what you wanted to do (at least I hope so).
    With your qualifications you could easily be making 5 times more money but you believe in serving your country and you decided to volunteer, IT WAS YOUR CHOICE.
    The investment you made is: Less money but more glory.
    Other people made different investments and different choices.
    Happiness in the work environment is a relative thing:
    For example, yesterday I read a story about a 7 year old orphan Immigrant to Thailand from the country previously known as Burma, his entire life he lived and worked in the garbage dump, it is all he ever knew, and believe it or not he considered it a form of happiness to have that place, and his adoptive mother who also lived in the dump said she will never leave that place.
    Here is the link to the story:
    http://edition.cnn.com/2008/US/04/09/rubbish.boy/index.html
    The bottom line: Happiness is relative and what you might consider horrible life conditions might be considered heaven by someone else.
    The worst thing that could happen to anyone in my opinion is having no choice, that poor kid did not have a choice, You and I did.
     
  39. Planktonmd

    Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved

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    So, if being on crack is helping them cope with the lack of their basic human rights like food and health care, maybe the government should consider legalizing crack as a cheaper alternative to fixing the health care system.
     
  40. seinfeld

    seinfeld ASA Member

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    The AF guy represents a point of view that we should all be cognizant of when we go to insurance companies and the more importantly the congress, its very hard for GI joe or Dick and Jane with their family of five to feel sorry for doctors. I have spent time down in washington lobbying congress so don't misinterpret my intentions here. The power of public perception on the issue of payment is not in our favor. Luckily we can convince the people in power and those who have a more global/educated perspective on health care that we deserve what we get.

    IN regards to choice i totally agree. The kid who decided not to finish highschool also made a decision not to make a lot of money in his life. Likewise the medstudent who matched in pediatrics has also chosen (although indirectly) not to be the most well payed of doctors.

    On the issue of military service we all must remember that it takes all kinds to create a vibrant thriving society. No garbage men, or people to maintain the sewer system and we'ed be drinking sh$$ty water. No teachers our society becomes less educated and unable to keep up with the world. Etc. We are all needed just some of us are harder to replace and there in lies our value. (BTW my brother in law has already spent a 1.5 years in bagdad and now he is off for a 2 year tour in Afghanistan, he could have gotten out after Iraq but chose to continue his service even after being shot at on numerous occasions, i think he is crazy, but then again he thinks i am crazy for sticking needles in patients with HIV and HepC)
     
  41. Salt Creep

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    I get sick of people saying that doctors are all loaded and therefore never have any reason to be dissatisfied.

    I just quickly ran through some numbers. I also have a BS in computer science, as well as a business degree. Before having to quit my job for medical school, I was making about $65,000/year plus great benefits. In order to pay for tuition, food for my wife and me, house payment, gasoline (20+ year old cars, no car payment), etc, etc, my student loans now total about $225,000.

    The 4 years of lost income (at the rate I was being paid before med school, assuming never getting a raise) totals $260,000, added to what I had to borrow = a difference to me of $485,000, in order for me to change over from working in the business world to medicine. (plus all the compounding interest I've lost out on in 401k, etc)

    Add to that the sacrifices we've (my wife too) made, including losing touch with friends and some family completely, having to delay having children for lack of ability to pay for insurance, etc (though that never stops our patients somehow), considerably lowered lifestyle standards, and more.

    Lastly, consider that I'll now be making about 45-50k for the next 4 years (an additional $60k in lost wages v. my previous job). So that's 8 years of sacrifice and working considerably longer than I ever have in my life - and I have worked a full time job since my junior year of high school (meaning I have always worked 40+ hours a week in addition to be a full time student, often having a 2nd job, etc). And I'm effectively penalized over $500,000 for it.

    I think after that kind of sacrifice, people should be very well compensated - they've worked a heck of a lot more than one might think to get there. That's a long a$$ road, and not without risks. Like the military men, I did choose this path voluntarily, and I knew there would be sacrifices. But implying that doctors are overpaid is the road to eliminating incentives for others to make these sacrifices too.

    I'm OK with my life and knew I was signing up for this when I started this path; I am not trying to complain. However, I believe we, as a profession, seriously need to do some kind of PR work if we want there to be incentives for people to enter this field in the future. The public thinks we are all overpaid and live the highest standard possible (and ignore about 10 years of living considerably below any poverty line you want to look at). If they continue to think this, we will be hit hard in the future.
     
  42. Leverage

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    How do i vote for that?
     
  43. amyl

    amyl ASA Member

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    hey...works for me...remember I am a libertarian :). However, I don't think the government can legalize drugs...as a liability issue. However, decriminalizing drugs might work. Decriminalizing drugs may reduce some of the violence and crime associated with drugs. As far as I am concerned if you are an adult and you want to do drugs in the privacy of your own home and don't leave your home I am not sure that that is any of my business.

    I think more people are killed in the violence associated with drugs than by the drugs themselves (correct me if I am wrong). People are killed associated with drugs because its big business, maybe decriminalizing them would make it less profitable...the market would likely be flooded and good old supply and demand capitalism would make it more profitable to do something else than sell drugs...sure would be interesting to see if it worked.
    besides if drugs were decriminalized they could be taxed greatly...a pretty big sin tax or something... maybe to fund the health care system... this system isn't working...i see too many people habitually using drugs, where does it all come from?!??! seems like the government either needs to get tougher or give up... some people seem so hell bent to ruin their lives.
    they tell me they can't afford their blood pressure med for $4 at walmart right after they tell me the last time they did crack was earlier that morning....am i that out of touch...is crack super cheap?

    (p.s. i really really need to get out of primary care in the public health care system asap!)
     
  44. maceo

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    well said salty,,

    the above is why i wouldnt do it over again.. The amount of effort is not worth it.. if you spent 20-30 percent of your effort at something else. there is no reason why you wouldnt achieve greatnes.. Im getting out as soon as humanly possible and i really feel sorry for all those who are embarking on this path now. you are in for it..
     
  45. Surfer

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    This is the most ridiculous idea I have ever heard. Have you actually worked in a hospital? How many of our patients are there because they abused their bodies with the aid of illegal substances? There is NO SUCH THING as a "victimless crime." Society pays an immense toll thanks to drug users:

    1) higher health care costs
    2) lost workforce productivity
    3) crime (not because of the $$ of drugs, but because of the ADDICTION. Do you think if drugs were legalized suddenly the druggies would stop stealing/murdering for the drugs? Would the drug trade suddenly start playing nice?? You're crazy if you subscribe to that idea.
    4) other social aspects of drug use, ie: dead-beat parents, etc
    5) on and on and on....

    Drugs should be punished as a crime, because using them IS A CRIME. Druggies cost all of us a IMMENSELY.
     
  46. lord_jeebus

    lord_jeebus 和魂洋才
    Moderator Physician

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    By the same logic, would you support recriminalizing alcohol?
     
  47. Planktonmd

    Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved

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    How many of your patients abused their bodies using LEGAL substances as well?
    Think of all the smokers and alcoholics out there, should they be considered criminals as well?
    How about morbidly obese people, you do agree that they are abusing their bodies too don't you? So should they go to jail if they exceed a certain weight? Should McDonald's executives be prosecuted like drug dealers?
    The criminal law system is not the answer to these issues, actually the criminal law system is part of the problem, just think about the prisons and the wonderful things people learn in these establishments.
    Do you really think that if you send a drug addict to prison for a while and then release him/her back to the street that you would be doing society a favor??
     
  48. racerx

    racerx ASA Member

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    I shouldn't post in anger, it's bad form.
     
  49. racerx

    racerx ASA Member

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    If he's a CCT it is possible he is. A number of CCT/pararescue have been killed in both theaters since 2001.
     
  50. chicamedica

    chicamedica 1K Member

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    I do think that this depends to some extent on the culture of the setting, but yes. . .I am an ex-anesthesia resident who also saw a lot of this where I was. I saw some of my colleagues (including myself) turn from happy, friendly people to bitter, depressed individuals. You do work hard as in any other medical field, but the fact that it IS so unappreciative makes things a lot harder. You are usually the scapegoat for any delay in the OR (even if it's the circulator or the surgeons). Very few surgeons/surgical residents will actually treat you as a colleague (why would they? they're the ones making the decisions right? :rolleyes: and you're doing the nursing work and transport, in their eyes). Gratitude from patients is rare. Add to that bitter attendings who would rather get on surgeons' good sides and/or protect themselves than stand up for their residents, and you get a brutal work environment where people get bitter and depressed and point fingers at each other. No collegiality whatsoever. Frankly, 4 months in, i was jealous of the fast food workers and the janitors.

    Anesthesiology is a difficult job--the knowledge base is large, the decisions are crucial, it's very possible to kill someone, though most of the time, in practice the decisions largely rest on surgeons' preferences. Often the case you work up ends up going to someone else (i.e. your patients are not REALLY yours), and in the end I felt much like an overeducated tech, getting criticized more for tech-type blunders like not wiping someone the right way or getting yelled at by the PACU nurse for having brought the patient in a stretcher that didn't belong to the PACU, than for anything medical. At least as an anesthesia resident, (I'm not sure about the attendings) your routine communication is with the nurses, not the doctors (other than your anesthesia attending), because frankly that is what your role ends up being. I felt that my decisionmaking and teaching role had been taken away from me--as a medicne intern I was REQUIRED to teach med students, and as a PGY2 in medicine, I am required to teach INTERNS and med students. Not so as an anesthesia resident. As an medicine intern, heck as a med STUDENT, I was REQUIRED to come up with decisions on my own, and encouraged to be autonomous. This was some of what was rewarding to me about medicine. In anesthesia, i felt this was largely taken away from me.

    Like you, I have a science background and a lot of the appeal of anesthesia to me was the science behind it. In practice though, it is unfortunately at the expense of too much garbage to put up with that personally i did not go to med school for, and this was a field that gave no fulfillment to me whatsoever. As someone else here mentioned, i'd rather make 90k, heck, even 60k, pull 30 hour shifts, be attached to my pager, only to have a career that I feel is fulfilling and gives me happiness. I feel lucky that was I able to recognize this sooner rather than later and had the opportunity to leave and to pursue a field I am infinitely happier doing (IM). Now I am actually deriving joy from work again, and that means just about everything in the world to me.

    Happiness means different things to different people though. Some people dont mind the stuff that made me miserable and they rave about anesthesiology. Thought I'd give my perspective.
     
  51. nightowl

    nightowl Senior Member

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    wow, did anyone check out the link to the boy living in the garbage dump in Thailand? It has inspired me to study... I'm a M2. I personally think our entire perception of money is really skewed because we live in such a wealthy country. It's hard to even compare what "poverty" looks like in the states compared to their conditions. There aren't any jobs to be had in a lot of places- no matter how smart you are, how ambitious. I don't know what I'm going to specialize in but God help me if I ever say I'm under-compensated if I'm making a six figure salary.

    Okay, off my soapbox. ;)
     
  52. huron

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    chicamedica, Is right about how bad the working conditions are in anesthesia in the academic environment, and there is little difference in the private practice environment. It is disappointing to have spent so many years in school and in training yet get so little respect and have so little control over our work environment.

    Most administrators see anesthesia as little more that another price of furniture for the OR, They see us a freely interchangeable commodity to be procured at the lowest cost. Unlike the surgeons we don’t have any control over the patient’s choice in which hospital to have their surgery. The patient rarely knows who is going to provide their anesthesia until just before the case starts, but they usually came to the hospital to get surgery from a surgeon they know, trust, and respect.
     

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