I went into Medicine because I was going to be another Tom Dooley or Albert Schweitzer – or so I thought after being inspired by films about these amazing human beings. I loved taking care of my patients – both children and adults. And also loved the intellectual challenge that medicine presents, to all thinking and caring physicians – even though I was always Dr Barton, and never Dr Schweitzer.
And so it was with a great deal of sadness that I recently read the Wall Street Journal article sent to me by a friend describing the dissatisfaction or really disenchantment, of today’s physicians, in great part attributed to the pressures of the business side of medicine, the need to see a “quota” of patients.
Can one be a physician today and still enjoy and reap the benefits of the practice of medicine? I believe it is so, albeit requiring diligence to do so. Two of my children are doctors, both, like myself, in academic medicine. They work extremely hard, but so did I. My son especially, like his mother, loves to teach (and has awards reflecting his teaching excellence) and care for his patients (perhaps more efficiently than I). We recognize that Medicine is a profession, but also a privileged calling – to care for another human being. May other physicians remember the calling and rekindle their enthusiasm for this most noble of professions.