My take: Paying for call, Muslims in medicine

1) A reader writes: “How about getting paid for taking call by hospitals? What’s your take on that? Almost every night that I am on call for the hospital I get to admit another unfunded patient. I understand my civic duty but it makes me not want to cover call anymore.

Pretty much all of the internal medicine doctors at my hospital have the option to opt out of taking admissions and virtually all of them have opted out. The general surgeons and OBs don’t have that option.”

Supply and demand in action. Without separate pay for call, there is no financial incentive to take call, and plenty of malpractice risks disincentives. No wonder why doctors are dropping call in droves. Surgeons and OBs aren’t so fortunate.

This trend will continue, as hospitals need coverage 24/7. Forcing doctors to take call as a condition of privileges is an option, but then you’ll see doctors resigning from the hospital altogether.

This movement is an encouraging sign that physicians can and will exert some form of independence, and will not be taken for granted any longer.

2) A reader writes: “How about a discussion of coming changes and problems associated with Islam in medicine?

I read somewhere that the majority of medical personnel training in the UK are now Muslim females. Given the problems that have surfaced already, e.g., requirements to maintain hijab at all times, including in operating theaters, refusal to minister to patients of the opposite sex, refusal to practice antisepsis, deference to the orders of religious rather than civil/medical authorities, this seems a fertile area for discussion.”

Haven’t thought about it much, as Muslims are not a majority of trainees Stateside.

My initial reaction is that patient care should not be jeopardized. So, refusal to practice antisepsis (if that is indeed true) would be an issue.

Religious beliefs should be respected, but it becomes a problem if patient care is compromised. If you’re practicing medicine, patient care is paramount and sometimes may supercede a doctor’s religious beliefs.

I’d like to hear what others think.