If you have ever been sitting in a physician’s waiting room extremely frustrated by the fact that it’s been thirty minutes past your appointment and you still haven’t been seen, you might have adopted the typical patient cynicism and attitude over pay inequality. Not that you are begrudging your doctor payment for rendered services, but the fact that you know they are making way more money than you are and they don’t have the courtesy to be on time with their patients. Don’t act like this thought has never crossed your mind unless you are a fellow physician who understands the way patient scheduling works. Even though you are tempted to make a snarky remark about the service fee for a fifteen-minute appointment with a physician, being a doctor is not all fun and games. And while the pay is good, the medical field isn’t always the most glamorous place to work.
A Cut Above the Rest
Even though the educational requirements alone for a doctor probably exceed what your own pay grade entitles you too, it can be easy to judge the validity of their service on the limited time you have with them in an exam room. After all, your insurance premiums are probably expensive and you might still have a co-pay or deductible on top of it. So it is with honest curiosity that many patients sit around the waiting room or on that cold exam table draped in nothing but a paper napkin and wonder, “how much do doctors make?”. Unfortunately, it’s not a one-paycheck-fits-all kind of field, but there are some averages among the most common healthcare fields. Generally speaking, over the course of a lifetime, general care doctors will earn more than $6.5 million, although specialists will earn over $10 million during their career. There’s no denying that the pay scale is pretty cushy.
The Ancient Greeks, through the influence of Hippocrates, brought the medical field the Hippocratic Oath. This pledge is taken by healthcare professionals who swear to uphold the highest of ethical standards while in the practice and service of medicine. These values extend to the treatment of patients to the best of the physician’s ability, to protect the patient’s privacy, to do no harm, and to preserve the secrets and practices of medicine for the next generations. It doesn’t say much of restricting compensation for services, but given the strong commitment to the patient, it is only natural to assume that care should be affordable regardless of the patient’s financial status.
What is Fair?