Projection of  Inflated Cost of Medical Education- Global Exploitation of Young Doctors

The  Myth  of  cost of  spending  on  medical  education needs to be made  transparent.

Educating a doctor cost less what   medical colleges  claim- a global phenomenon.

   Instead of   often  repeated statements  about high expense on running medical college and  projecting it   as a  hard  fact, the amount spent  on  medical students by all medical colleges should be made transparent by all institutions. The  frequent  statement  is made that  cost of  making a doctor is very high and  gleefully  propagated  by  the  private medical colleges to extract millions out of  young  medical students . 

Such statements without any actual public data  is repeated  to the   extent  that  it  is  firmly  entrenched  in  public  mind without any real evidence.

     High cost  is  the  reason    with an intention  to  exploit the young doctors in various ways to get cheap labour and extract  millions from aspiring doctors  by private medical colleges.

      The  basis  of  such calculation should be transparent for every medical college and all institutions. 

       In any medical college,  only the   Departments  of  Anatomy and Physiology  are purely for medical students. The  remaining  subjects  taught  in  medical  colleges  across  the  country  are  related  to  patient 

care  and  medical  education  is only  a  by-product.  All the medical teachers are actually doctors involved in treatment of patients, running  the hospital  and students observe the treatment and learn medicine. The interns and  postgraduate  students  provide the cheap and labour and actually save the costs of running the hospital.

 Therefore   if  some college   is  actually  spending  millions   to  produce  one  MBBS  doctor ,  it  is  a  either an   inefficient  model   or costs are inflated and exaggerated to exploit the young doctors.

Educating a doctor cost less what   medical colleges claim

The average cost of producing a doctor or nurse went down across most parts of the world between 2008 and 2018, but almost tripled in China and doubled in India, a Lancet study shows. Despite this, the estimated expenditure per medical graduate in China at $41,000 is higher only than in sub-Saharan Africa and about 42% lower than in India ($70,000) against a global average of $114,000. The pattern was the same for nurses with the estimated expenditure per nursing graduate dropping across the world while it went up by 167% in China and doubled in India. The only other region where the per graduate cost went up was in North Africa, where cost per doctor went up by 47% and by 25% for nurses. Approximately $110 billion was invested globally by governments and students’ families in medical and nursing education in 2018. Of this, $60.9 billion was invested in doctors and $48.8 billion was invested in nurses and midwives, the study estimated.

The paper looks at important developments in medical education to assess potential progress and issues with education of health professionals after the Covid-19 pandemic. Mean costs in 2018 were $114,000 per doctor and $32,000 per nurse. In 2008, China had the lowest estimated expenditure per medical graduate at just $14,000 (Rs 6 lakh) followed by India, where it was just $35,000 (Rs 15 lakh at the 2008 exchange rate of Rs 43 to a dollar). This is much lower than the estimate of Rs 1 crore or more that Indian colleges widely claim as expenditure per medical graduate.

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Expensive Medical College  seat- Is it worth it?

Expensive Medical College Seat; A Bad Choice

In the present circumstances, when doctors themselves are doubtful about the advice for choosing medical career, some are naive enough to spend millions on securing an expensive medical college seat.  Problems faced by doctors are not only innumerable but are also so exceedingly complex that they are difficult to be analysed. Doctors feel so disgusted   about the entire system that they do not encourage their children to take up this profession which until now was one of the coveted ones, there must be something going terribly wrong with the profession. Following are the reasons, why spending a fortune on the medical college seat may be a bad idea, at least for the students from moderate family backgrounds.

1. Medical courses are comparatively lengthy and expensive courses and difficult training with slave like duties. “enslavement of doctors”.

2. Uncertain future for aspiring doctors at time of training:  Nowadays, doing just MBBS is not enough and it is important to specialise. Because of lesser seats in post-graduation, poor regulation of medical education, uneven criteria, ultimately very few people get the branch and college of their choice.  They have to just flow with system ultimately.

3.Hostile environment for doctors to begin: Suddenly young and bright children complete  training and find themselves working in a hostile environment, at the receiving end of public wrath, law, media for reasons they can’t fathom. They face continuous negative publicity, poor infrastructure and preoccupied negative beliefs of society.

4. Difficult start of career: After a difficult time at medical college, an unsettled family life and with no money, these brilliant doctors begin their struggle. Even before they start earning a penny, the society already has its preconceived notions because of negative media publicity and half treats them as cheats and dishonest. Their work is seen with suspicion and often criticised.

5. The fear and anxiety about the actual treatment, favourable and unfavourable prognosis of patient, keeps mind of a doctor occupied.

 6. Blamed for all malaise: The society gets biased because of the   media reports and some celebrity talking glib against medical profession. The blame for  inept medical system, administrative failure and complexity of medical industry is conveniently loaded on doctors. These lead to formation of generalised sentiment against all doctors and are then unfortunately blamed for all the malaise in the entire healthcare system.

7. Personal and family life suffers: Large number of patients with lesser number of doctors is a cause of difficult working circumstances, and the frequent odd hour duties have a very negative impact on the family and personal life of the doctor.

8. Risk to doctor himself: Repeated exposure to infected patients in addition to long work hours without proper meals make them prone to certain health hazards, like infections which commonly include   tuberculosis and other bacterial and viral illnesses. Radiologists get radiation exposure. Because of difficult working conditions, some doctors are prone to depression, anxiety and may start on substance abuse.

9. Unrealistic expectations of society:  Every patient is not salvageable but commonly the relatives do not accept this reality. Pressure is mounted on doctor to do more while alleging that he is not working properly. Allegations of incompetency and negligence are quite common in such circumstances. These painful discussions can go to any extent and a single such relative every day is enough to spoil the mood for the day.

10. Retrospective analysis of doctor’s every action continues all the life. It could be by  patients and relatives  every day  in the form of  “ Why this was not done before?” Everyday irritating discussions, arguments, complaints, disagreements add to further pain and discontentment, in case the patient is not improving, or it could be by courts and so many regulatory bodies. If unfortunately there is a lawsuit against a doctor, he will be wasting all his time with lawyers and courts, which will takes years to sort out.

 The decision taken in emergency will be questioned  and  in retrospect they may not turn out to be the best one. But later with retrospective analysis along with wisdom of hindsight with luxury of time, may be labelled as wrong if a fault-finding approach is used. This along with general sentiment and sympathy with sufferer makes medical profession a sitting duck for lawsuit and punishments. Even if the doctor is proved to be not guilty, his harassment and tarnishing of reputation would be full and almost permanent.

11. Physical assault, routine instances of verbal abuse and threat are common for no fault of theirs. Many become punching bags for the inept medical system and invisible medical industry. Recently, even female doctors have not been spared by mobs. Silence of prominent  people, celebrities and society icons on this issue is a pointer towards increasing uncivilized mind-set of society.

12. Medical industry may be rich but not the doctors: The belief that doctor’s is a rich community is not correct. Although decent or average earnings may be there, but earnings of most doctors is still not commiserate with their hard work viz-a-viz other professions. Doctors who also work like investor, a manager or collaborate with industry may be richer. But definitely most of doctors who are just doing medical care are not really rich.

13. Windfall profits for lawyers and law industry at the cost of doctors is a disadvantage for medical profession: I have seen zero fee and fixed commission ads on television by lawyers in health systems in certain developed countries. They lure patients to file law suits and promise them hefty reimbursements. There is no dearth of such   relatives, lawyers who are ready to try their luck, sometimes in vengeance and sometimes for lure of money received in compensations.  This encouragement and instigations of lawsuit against doctors is a major disadvantage for medical profession.

14. Overall, a complex scenario for doctors: There is increasing discontentment amongst doctors because of this complex and punishing system. They are bound by so many factors that they finally end up at the receiving end all the time. They are under Hippocratic oath and therefore expected to work with very high morality, goodwill and kindness for the sufferings of mankind and dying patients.  They are also supposed to maintain meticulous documentation and also supposed to work under norms of  medical industry. They are supposed to see large number of patients with fewer staff and nursing support while still giving excellent care in these circumstances. And if these were not enough, the fear of courts and medico-legal cases, verbal threats, abuses, and physical assaults and show of distrust by patient and relatives further makes working difficult. Additionally there may be bullying by certain administrative systems at places, who use pressure tactics to get their own way.

Advantages-Disadvantage of being a doctor

     25 factors- why health care is expensive

     REEL Heroes Vs Real Heroes

     21 occupational risks to doctors and nurses

     Covid paradox: salary cut for doctors other paid at home

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