Don't let IMG externships become a lucrative and exploitative business
LETTER — Posted April 23, 2007
Regarding "IMG externships, career investment" (Article, March 26):
It was interesting and somewhat distressing to read about a looming business regarding externs in training. It is not appropriate to charge foreign doctors any fee for allowing them to observe patient care.
I feel international medical graduates are already shelling out a lot of money to pay for the USMLEs (not forgetting the extra burden of coming to the United States to take the clinical exam). They are already strapped for cash unless they have wealthy relatives to support them. And all this for residency positions that are not even guaranteed.
I did an externship myself, free of charge, at a local hospital, and it was excellent.
Well-established doctors in practice can provide their expertise and tips without charging, as a kind gesture. I am sure we were all helped by Good Samaritans at some time or the other, when we came here.
This should not become just another lucrative business of exploiting the already stressed-out IMGs.
And IMGs should not be under the impression that externships (paid or otherwise) are a sure way to get a residency position.
If that be the case, then the American Medical Association and hospital programs must think of ways of providing such training in more and more hospitals -- free of charge.
Hema Padmanabhan, MD, Rockville, Md.
Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2007/04/23/edlt0423.htm.