Ever wonder if your doctor is laughing at you?

From CNN.com

You’re sick, in the hospital, or maybe even undergoing surgery. The last thing you want to contemplate is the thought that your doctor might be making fun of your toe rings while you’re anesthetized.

But does it happen? Yes. According to a survey of doctors starting a residency in internal medicine, 17 percent had — along with their colleagues–made fun of a patient, sometimes when the patient was under.

Egad. Is nothing sacred? The good news, though, is that 94% of the 110 medical interns who took the anonymous survey realized that such behavior was inappropriate, according to a research letter published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

That means that only seven doctors in the survey thought that type of behavior was A-OK.

Primary-care pay tied to family-doc shortage: study

From Modern Healthcare:

Calling it a problem “that will require reform at a national level,” University of Georgia at Athens professor and Assistant to the Provost Mark Ebell concluded in the Sept. 10 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association that there is a link between low compensation for primary-care physicians and the nation’s health.

In a study published as a “research letter,” Ebell writes that the correlation between salary and primary-care physician shortages—which, in turn, may be tied to higher all-cause cardiovascular, cancer-specific and infant mortality rates—has persisted since his original research on this issue was published in the Sept. 22, 1989 issue of JAMA and may be reaching crisis proportions.

Comparing specialties chosen by 2007 U.S. medical school graduates and salary information obtained from the American Medical Group Association, Ebell cited how family medicine had the lowest average salary ($185,740) and the lowest percentage of filled residency positions (42.1%). The specialty with the second-lowest salary, pediatrics ($185,913) had a much higher fill rate (72.8%), but the numbers for next lowest specialty followed Ebell’s thesis. Internists, with the third-lowest salary of $193,162, had the third-lowest residency fill rate: 55.9% Neurologists, with the fifth-lowest salary ($222,998), had the second-lowest fill rate at 51.9%.

In comparison, radiologists—whose average salary was $414,875—had a residency fill rate of 88.7%; and orthopedic surgeons—whose average salary was $436,481—had a fill rate of 93.8%. Ebell noted in a news release that since 2007 medical school graduates have a median debt of $140,000, debt relief for primary-care physicians could be one possible reform.

“Rising levels of student debt, considerably lower salaries in primary-care specialties, and a perception that primary care may have a less rewarding lifestyle have led to a potential workforce crisis given the aging U.S. population,” Ebell, a deputy editor of the American Family Physician journal, wrote in JAMA

Fewer US med students choosing primary care

From Yahoo News:

Only 2 percent of graduating medical students say they plan to work in primary care internal medicine, raising worries about a looming shortage of the first-stop doctors who used to be the backbone of the American medical system.

The results of a new survey being published Wednesday suggest more medical students, many of them saddled with debt, are opting for more lucrative specialties.

Just 2 percent of nearly 1,200 fourth-year students surveyed planned to work in primary care internal medicine, according to results published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. In a similar survey in 1990, the figure was 9 percent.

Paperwork, the demands of the chronically sick and the need to bring work home are among the factors pushing young doctors away from careers in primary care, the survey found.