The high suicide rate of female physicians

Female doctors kill themselves at a rate 130 percent higher than other adult women, while the rate among male physicians is 40 percent higher than men in general

“The fraternity of medicine, mental health specialists said, is populated by hard-charging professionals taught to pursue perfection and abhor weakness. It’s a high-stress profession. And it is a field uniquely positioned to have access to the tools of suicide — and the knowledge of how to use them.”

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  • Anonymous

    I think that is a little morbid for a doctor lol.
    Solomon

  • Anonymous

    Hey I can see a man of medicine contributing to political campaigns..after all they do make the big dollars lol My wife went in for an hour worth of a cat scan and the Doctor that performed it wanted 700 dollars for his labor which lasted a exhausting 45 minutes lol. I am not poking at doctors I am just bitter my 45 minutes is worth 5 dollars give or take lol.
    solomon

  • Anonymous

    finally seeing your profession from an unbiased point of view…thank you I think Ill be a fan.
    solomon

  • Anonymous

    Solomon,
    The radiologist charged $700 dollars (probably the radiologist got $300 and the scanner company got $400) for his 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school, 4 years of internship and residency, 2 years of fellowship, 6 months of board review, 20 hours of CME and the 45 minutes to do the study. That works out to less than 21 dollars a year.

  • Anonymous

    The radiologist probably got $50-$100 depending on the insurance and whether they even paid. Still a lot but nowhere near $700.

    -TX radiologist

  • Anonymous

    The notion that medical expense should bear some automatic relationship to the amount of school a doctor has gone through is nutty.

    The amount you should charge is the amount the market will bear. English lit PhD go to school for a long time too–but don’t expect to be remunerated in the lavish style that docs demand.

    Of course, with a third party payment system, thigns get more complicated.

  • Anonymous

    “The notion that medical expense should bear some automatic relationship to the amount of school a doctor has gone through is nutty.”

    Objectively, compensation is determined by several factors, including specialization of knowledge and expertise, the responsibilities and demands of the job, the value of the job to the organization/society. Based on these criteria– the same criteria used to determine compensation levels for hundreds of thousands of professionals across the nation (via a technique known as job analysis)– physicians are UNDERpaid. Not “lavishly” paid.

    Many others are underpaid as well– many (but not all) PhD’s, for instance, teachers, and various civil servants. Many other workers/professionals are overpaid based on objective criteria.

    Finally, arguing for strict market mechanisms to apply for medicine is silly, as medical care is incredibly inelastic. How much is an appendectomy worth when your appendix is about to rupture? How much is a hip replacement worth? A plastic surgeon’s expertise after a car crash and burn? If left to the market, with no protections/provisions, docs would be making millions. They currently make nowhere near that, save for perhaps 1-2% of them.

    I always find the fact that people rag on how much doctors earn amusing– you rarely, if ever, hear people bitching about the people who make REALLY absurd amounts of money in our society and don’t deserve it at all. I’m looking at you, “administrators”, “managers/CEO’s”, “financial planners/stock traders”, and “CPA’s”.

    As for the cat scan costing $700 (for which the physician/lab was only reimbursed roughly 40-60% of that, I’m sure) and taking 45 minutes, well, my grandmother needed a letter notarized and reviewed by a lawyer; she went to one, sat there for literally 15-20 minutes while he read it over, and charged her a cool $1100 (and he received all of it, not some percentage determined by some proxy payor). No joke.

    But people don’t bitch about things like that, amusingly enough…

  • Elliott

    I always find doctors who think the deserve their pay funny. They make more than any other type of professional according the BLS. They are protected by a whole series of laws and regulations that make them a monopoly. They are one of the three main benefactors of the US’s incredibly messed up healthcare delivery system (insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies are the other). AND they still complain that they are underpaid. I may not be a doctor, but I am an economist so you are treading in my area of expertise.

    Physicians do provide a valuable service. They have to be smart; they need to be highly trained; and yes, you want a good/great one when you need one. On the other hand the structure that put them at the pinnacle of the US labor force is an accident of history and luck. Also, much of what they do does not require any special skill. Try to tell them that and watch the fur fly. I’ll sit right back and watch it fly right now.

  • Anonymous

    You’ve officially removed yourself from the category of sane people, Elliot. Good day.

    I’m sure “economists” are incredibly valuable, btw. That’s what we need more of… lol

    As an “economist”, surely you’ve heard of the job analysis methods I speak of. HR departments and consulting firms use them all the time to set pay levels for various jobs ranging from common, to managerial, to professional. They use objective criteria of the sort I mentioned earlier. Any job analysis you run on a physician is going to show that they are grossly undercompensated, yet you refuse to admit this fact despite the weight of the evidence being against you.

    Do yourself a favor. Go to a localcompany’s HR department, and ask them to perform a job analysis to determine compensation for a physician (any sort of doc– it doesn’t matter). What you’ll find is that they are paid only 50-70% of what they are objectively worth.

    You arouse pity in me. Ooh, ooh, you’re an economist– you’re SO special. Spare me…

    I’m not even a doctor, btw, nor a med student, nor an aspiring med student. Your arrogance and myopia is galling, however.

  • Elliott

    I’m familiar with job analysis. I am unfamiliar with anything that suggest physicians are underpaid. In addition, most job analysis includes required education and licenses and places a certain value on those aspects as well as the functional description of the job. I would be interested if you can point me to an article that states what you have just stated. Also, since many job analysis tend to find multiple job categories to be underpaid, I would want to see the evidence that physicians were more underpaid relative to the analysis than these other professions.

    In general, the market sets pay and the market has set physician pay higher than any other profession. My contention is that the market in this case is not anywhere near the ideal perfect competition that would allow me to conclude that physicians are fairly compensated. On the one hand, physicians need to be smart, highly trained, work relatively long hours, and bear a great deal of indivdual responsibility which certainly justify a high level of compensation. On the other hand, the monopoly elements of physician services and the distorted broader market of healthcare in which they operate lead me to believe there is a good chance that they are not underpaid, but rather overpaid.

  • Anonymous

    “I’m familiar with job analysis. I am unfamiliar with anything that suggest physicians are underpaid”

    – Then you’ve never run a job analysis on a physician. I haven’t, but I asked the HR division I was working with over a summer internship to do so, and they reported that a PCP (pediatrician, FP etc.) was “valued” according to their analysis, at roughly $270K per year. They currently make ~$130-150K, for reference.

    “In addition, most job analysis includes required education and licenses and places a certain value on those aspects as well as the functional description of the job. I would be interested if you can point me to an article that states what you have just stated”

    – There is no article that states such. It is something they did for me as a personal favor, since I was working with this group for a couple of months last summer. You’d simply have to go have someone perform a job analysis for a physician to prove it to yourself, though I’m sure you’re in no hurry.

    “Also, since many job analysis tend to find multiple job categories to be underpaid, I would want to see the evidence that physicians were more underpaid relative to the analysis than these other professions.”

    – Oh, without question there are a great many professions which are underpaid. There are also many which are overpaid based on objective criteria; I mentioned this in my previous post. I’m not certain whether physicians are underpaid to a greater degree than, say, teachers, firefighters, or biochem PhD’s, sibce I’d have to see a job analysis run on them as well. All I know is that they (physicians) are underpaid; hence, statements which say that they are overpaid are false.

    “My contention is that the market in this case is not anywhere near the ideal perfect competition that would allow me to conclude that physicians are fairly compensated”

    – The “market” is certainly not ideal. However, this works both for (your “monopoly” contention) and against (our current proxy payor system) physicians; hence I’d tend to believe that they balance out. Again, and as you well know, medical care is incredibly inelastic. How much would someone be willing to pay for an appendectomy as their appendix is on the verge of rupturing? Or for a hip replacement? A triple-bypass? To retain the services of a plastic surgeon after they’ve had third degree burns?

    Assuming we “de-monopolized” (I disagree that the present situation constitutes a “monopoly”, but that’s neither here nor there– any provider can perform any service; they simply can’t have the initials “M.D.” after their name. That does not constitute a monopoly). But anyway, if we demonopolized medicine in an attempt to have as close to a “market” situation as possible, we’d also have to get rid of the third-party payor system. People would have to pay out of pocket for their own care, as opposed to a proxy paying 40-70% of fair value. Further, physicians would also be allowed to unionize (which is currently verboten) and could set pricing for their services to reflect the inelastic nature of the services they provide.

    Assuming all this, I’d be willing to wager that doctors come out making substantially more than they’re making now. Substantially more.

  • Elliott

    Although you make an interesting argument about the third party payor system, color me unconvinced and unimpressed by your “evidence” (the hearsay testimony about a summer job where you informally asked HR to do a job analysis). I would love to make the wager that you propose and I would give you good odds. It’s very interesting (as in strange) that you suggest that an out-of-pocket payment scheme would cause prices to rise; I understand your disdain for economics now.

    Here is the short argument of why I believe physicians are most likely overpaid:

    1. They are the highest paid profession in the US.
    2. Every single medical school slot is filled each year.
    3. When substitutes become available at a lower price, businesses and people move to those substitutes (i.e. nurse practioners).
    4. The percentage of practicing physicians relative to graudated physicians is higher than the percentage of practicing lawyers, teachers, or nurses.

    Finally, I actually did find one job analysis on the web from Pierce County, Washington. It failed to support your claim.

  • Anonymous

    Link? I’ll address the rest of your post later.

  • Elliott

    Chris (that’s the name you used on Kevin Drum’s blog when you tried to peddle the exact same BS), you’re awfully lazy or don’t know how to use google. Do you think I picked Pierce County by throwing a dart at a map of the US? I see no reason to assist someone who I believe to be lying, is anonymous, and who has insulted me. Could you please identify your posts in the future with some consistent signature so that I can know before I respond that it is the same person who has been posting in this thread?

  • Anonymous

    First off, I have no idea who “Kevin Drum” is, nor do I frequent his blog. I post here and occasionally at RangelMD (which appears to be down lately). But my name IS Chris, so perhaps you have your sites mixed up.

    “Do you think I picked Pierce County by throwing a dart at a map of the US? I see no reason to assist someone who I believe to be lying, is anonymous, and who has insulted me.”

    – Yet you saw fit to reply– civilly, mind you– and now for some inexplicable reason refuse to supply the link to the site you say you’ve found. Entirely predictable.

    “Could you please identify your posts in the future with some consistent signature so that I can know before I respond that it is the same person who has been posting in this thread?”

    – No, because when you make a claim, and it can be verified quite easily by simply PROVIDING A LINK, yet you refuse to do so, I owe you nothing.

    If you continue to refuse to provide a link to this “Pierce County, Washington job analysis” which purportedly contradicts my assertions, then I will henceforth view as a fraud.

    I find it amusing that you continue to dance around providing the link when we both know that if you had one, you would have just posted it and shut me up already. In fact, if you provide said link, I will not only apologize profusely for everything said in this thread and admit that it is in error, I will worship you as my god, Elliot. That’s right– my god.

    Oh, and I only “insulted” you once in about 10 paragraphs of writing (“insulted” is in quotes because you’re now using that as an out in order to not provide a link to substantiate your claims, despite having no problem with it earlier). Conversely, every one of your posts is dripping with condescension, vitriol, or explicit/implicit insults against physicians. Seems a bit hypocritical on your part.

    But I guess they don’t teach you tact or good manners in “economics” school. By the way, did I mention how incredibly valuable your contribution to society is? Economists: what the world needs more of.

  • Anonymous

    Soloman said: My wife went in for an hour worth of a cat scan and the Doctor that performed it wanted 700 dollars for his labor which lasted a exhausting 45 minutes lol.

    Hey Solomon,

    CT scanners and other high tech imaging devices are extremely expensive. They cost many hundreds of thousands of dollars, sometimes even millions of dollars for the latest equipment. The list price on the latest hybrid PET/CT scanners from GE and Siemens is about $2.5 million dollars, and they typically do only 10-15 patients a day. Those machines have to be paid for out of patient charges.

    The technologists who actually run the machine are themselves highly paid professionals, who get their salary whether or not the radiologist or hospital makes any money on the study. They get paid from patient charges.

    Supplies like IV contrast and X-ray film are expensive. They are paid for out of patient charges.

    Medical scanners have special rooms built for them, with things like lead shielding in the walls, reinforced flooring to support their weight, high-capacity air filtration and conditioning, computer rooms, laboratories, prep rooms, etc. Those things all cost money.

    Then there’s the question of malpractice; radiologists are among the specialists who are sued most often, and their liability insurance premiums reflect it. That has to be paid for out of patient charges.

    We haven’t even touched on taxes, building rents, or billing and accounting expenses, or any of the other expenses that go into running a medical practice.

    If you think the radiologist pocketed $700 for reading your wife’s CT scan, you’re totally misinformed. If he is in a very well-run practice in an area with decent insurance reimbursements, he might have made a net profit of $50 or $60.

  • Anonymous

    We live in America. People get paid what they deserve. Too bad- a lawyer can charge 500 dollars and hour to read a paper, a doctor can charge you 70 dollars to look in your ear, a mechanic can charge you 500 for a brake job, and I can charge you 1000 dollars to read your palm. No one is keeping you from doing my job or anyone elses job. Get to work.