God Given Right to Superiority

5 08 2008

This article from the New York Times is a source of endless amusement.  The New York schools are highly upset that some excellent clinical spots are being taken up by the graduates of Caribbean medical schools.

‘Clinicals’ are an integral part of medical education, consisting of rotations through various specialties in medicine where students can learn side by side with physicians.  This process goes on for two years before students pick a residency and their specialties.  It gives students exposure to a variety of specialties and increases their overall knowledge about medicine.  It is also the time they start applying all the things they’ve learned during the first two years to a real life situation.

So these spots are highly important, and New York schools are crying that a Caribbean school took the spots from them.  For reference, a third of new physicians in the US have gone to medical schools not in the US.  Why?  Well, because of the medical schools themselves.

The problem is that it’s their fault that the Caribbean schools even exist. In order to inflate demand, the AMA and the schools kept market really tight for doctors by severely limiting enrollment.  Those were obviously not enough, so they kept admitting thousands of FMG’s while denying seats to potential American students.  And to justify their actions, they kept on blowing smoke up people’s rear end by warning of an impending ‘physician oversupply’.

When they couldn’t keep saying that with a straight face anymore, they finally relented and admitted there was a chronic under supply and that all schools should increase enrollment. You force US students to go elsewhere, and then you complain that they are infringing on your God Given Right to get the best clinical spots? Tough ****, as far as I’m concerned.  These are US students that went to the Caribbean because your short-sighted and greedy policies forced them to.  I’d rather have more US graduates becoming doctors than importing graduates from other countries.

It is even more galling that schools like NYU complain about physicians in New York City hospitals, considering most of NYU graduates (just like all US medical graduates) tend to go into high paying specialties, leaving the much needed jobs in primary care medicine to graduates from foreign countries and the Caribbean.  So not only are the Caribbean schools a product of their own short-sightedness, I can argue that they provide a bigger service to the health of the US population than the New York schools do.  Specialists are nice, but the US really needs primary care doctors.  Grads from NYU and Albert Einstein aren’t going into Family Medicine, so give the spots to people who actually might be.