In today's papers, Dr Huang gives us his take on the practice of Medicine today.
He writes: "The tragedy with the mantra, 'Medicine is now just another business', is that some among us are beginning to believe that it is true."
Let's be honest here...if one were to take a poll among medical students now on why they want to become doctors, what proportion would indicate "Want to earn a good living" as a major reason? I suspect a large percentage would.
Realistically speaking, being a doctor is like "having an iron rice bowl" (鐵飯碗 - a Chinese idiom referring to an occupation which guarantees job security & a steady income) - you would probably not end up among the statistics of the unemployment rate. Quantum of income would vary, but I sincerely doubt that any established, fully trained doctor would be classed in the lower or middle income groups. Unfortunately, the "business" end of Medicine has become, in many instances, the bottomline for many doctors & the "companies" they own or have a share in.
He also writes: " Many now strut around like some centrefold media superstar in the most unlikely magazines. 'Glam' sells and these coffee-table tabloids naturally fly off the racks."
I think he probably refers to the (mostly) aesthetic physicians/surgeons who are featured quite regularly in magazines targeted at the female population, as well as the well-heeled. Let's hope that we won't end up with the local version of "Dr 90210" (an American TV series on the gossipy E channel which features real-life cases of plastic suregeons in Beverly Hills).
Dr Huang also states that "The challenge facing us is how the medical profession is going to harness the tools that modernity affords us and, by self-regulating moderately, ensure that the 'outliers' in our profession do not tarnish the good reputation that our forebears had so painstakingly built over the centuries."
A challenge indeed. I anxiously wait to see where & whether the Powers draw the line with some of the more dubious practices we see.