Letters to the Editors
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The financial analysis of two young doctors just entering practice, "$739,000 in debtand wanting to start a family" [April 23], was particularly intriguing for us: We're two psychiatrists with six children under age 13, and we encountered similar debts upon completing residency.
Our debt levels suggest a question: Do doctors enjoy a return on investment in education comparable to what other professional groups get? Our research suggests that the answer is No.
When students enter medicine, few give much thought to financial return on educational investment. However, the debt and sacrifices necessary to complete a medical educationso nicely articulated in the articleend up making the return on such an education very pertinent. If the practice of medicine cannot compete financially, the best and brightest may pursue other professions.
William B. Weeks, MD
Bill.firstname.lastname@example.orgAmy E. Wallace, MD
Dartmouth Medical School
I disagree with Marianne Mattera's assertion in her May 7 editorial that nurses' problems are doctors' problems. This is a societal dilemma. Every time I receive a managerial-level communication from an insurance company, I see the letters RN after the person's name. Nurses, who trained to care for patients, are now custodians of the insurance industry's millions. Here are two ideas to alleviate the situation:
Medicare should reimburse hospitals adequately. This way, hospitals will be able to afford to hire more nurses and to compensate them fairly for their work.
Hospitals and other health care facilities should provide competitive wages and other benefits, so nurses won't be lured away by the insurance industry.
If nurses were able to perform the duties for which they were trained, the United States would not be facing a nursing shortage.
Wanda Velez-Ruiz, MD
Thank you for the excellent editorial on the nursing shortage. You touched on all the relevant issues. There are still many nurses out there, but they won't work under the present employment conditions.
My wife is CEO of the Nurses Professional Organization in Louisville. She has worked pro bono for 12 years trying to organize nurses, and they're still intimidated by management.
Keep up the good work.
Vincent Ziegler, MD
David Karp's April 23 letter, encouraging older patients to demand prescription drug coverage, is off the mark. I think it's a disgrace that more and more people expect the federal government to pick up the bill for everything. The government has involved itself so much in our nation's health care, and a prescription drug benefit would only lead to further intrusion into patients' affairs.
Brian P. Morley, DO
Moberly, MO email@example.com
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Gail Weiss. Letters to the Editors.