Advice to bright students: Don't go into clinical medicine nowadays

LETTER — Posted Dec. 6, 2004

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Regarding "Women leading climb in med school applications" (Article, Nov. 8): What struck me most about your article was the significant overall decline in all medical school applicants.

I presume that young people have seen the writing on the wall for American clinical medicine -- especially primary care -- in terms of shrinking salaries, the need to churn out patients faster and the hassle of working with insurers, regulators and lawyers looking over our shoulders.

I have been a family doctor since 1992, and I have taken great pride in helping patients take advantage of advanced diagnostic techniques, less-invasive surgery and better drugs. But I am fighting low-level insurance bureaucrats to get patients the care they need. I never thought I would tell a bright college student not to go into clinical medicine. But now I would.

M. Dean Havron Jr., MD, Winchester, Va.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2004/12/06/edlt1206.htm.

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