Study finds younger doctors are less idealistic

A survey, published in the IMA's journal Zman Harefuah, found that doctors are unhappy with today's "defensive medicine."

doctor 88 (photo credit: )
doctor 88
(photo credit: )
The vast majority of Israeli physicians get the most satisfaction from being able to help their patients, according to a new Israel Medical Association survey. Only eight percent cited status or income as the most satisfying aspect of their careers. But the news is not all rosy: The younger the doctors, the less likely are to be happy in their work. Only 49% of those aged 30 to 40 derived satisfaction from their jobs. The survey, published in the IMA's journal Zman Harefuah, found that doctors are unhappy with today's "defensive medicine" - performing extra tests and procedures to reduce the risk of being sued. Nearly three-quarters of the sample poll of 500 IMA members felt this way. Obstetricians/gynecologists were most sensitive on this point because they are most commonly sued for negligence. Carried out for the IMA by the Geocartography polling company, the survey found that only 35% of the doctors would urge their children to go into medicine. Young doctors had more complaints than their elders, who had higher status and incomes. Those aged 30 to 40 complained about having little free time. Only 16% said they had time to spend time with their families, compared with 32% of those over 60. If they had more free time, they would also want to spend it updating themselves in their fields. The older the doctor, the more he or she wanted to invest in their connection with patients. Two-thirds claimed their salary was unfair in relation to the amount of energy they invested in their work. Young doctors, hospital doctors and surgeons were most likely to complain about unfair salary. More than half of the doctors said they have too many patients, and 60% of all the doctors (and 71% of the younger ones) said this burden prevents them from giving each their full attention. More than half are annoyed by the many administrative tasks they have to perform. Nearly one in three hospital doctors said their work conditions have declined in recent years, compared to jsut 13% who said they had improved. This trend was also expressed by doctors in community clinics. CELLPHONE CAUSES HEARING PROBLEMS Hold the phone: Long-term use of a cellular phone may cause inner ear damage and can lead to high-frequency hearing loss, according to a new study presented at the recent American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation's Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. A significant number of people who had used mobile phones for over a year suffered increases in the degree of hearing loss over the span of 12 months. Furthermore, the study also discovered that people who used their phones for more than 60 minutes a day had a worse hearing threshold than those with less use. High-frequency hearing loss is characterized by the loss of the ability to hear consonants such as s, f, t, and z, even though vowels can be heard normally. Consequently, people often cannot make out what is being said. The authors warn users of cell phones to look out for symptoms such as ear warmth, ear fullness and tinnitus (ringing in the ears) as early warning signs that you may have an auditory abnormality. They also suggest the use of earphones, which they found to be safer than holding a mobile phone up to the ear. SWEET TOOTH INHERITED If you have a "sweet tooth," you may be able to "blame" your parents. Looking at genetic profiles of 146 adults from 26 families, researchers in Finland identified an area on a chromosome linked with a preference for sweet foods. People with a particular variation of this chromosome rated sweet food as more pleasant-tasting, ate more of it and had more frequent sweet-food cravings than people with other variations. "The fact that there is genetic variation among people in sweet-food preference points to some underlying reason, perhaps a possible biological advantage," says Dr. Markus Perola, who led the research. In leaner times, a preference for sweet (caloric, life-sustaining) foods may have provided an evolutionary edge. Today the trait may seem more of a liability. Still, says Perola, it could be reassuring to know that a preference for sweet foods is not just learned behavior. In other words, it's not a weak will that makes it harder for you to resist treats; maybe it's those "survivor genes." SAVED FROM MISSING WEDDING A Jerusalem bridegroom who seriously dislocated his finger when a heavy crate fell on him in his new apartment an hour before his wedding was saved from missing the ceremony.. The 22-year-old knew the huppa ceremony was due to begin at 5.30 p.m. one day not long ago. But he rushed to his new apartment to arrange things and pulled the crate down on himself, causing excruciating pain. He rushed to TEREM, the Jerusalem urgent medical care clinic, and told Dr. Ortman Karama, the doctor on duty, his sad story. Karama sympathized and said he would do all he could to ensure that he didn't miss the wedding. He took him into the treatment room and, while talking to him to divert his attention, manipulated the finger and returned the bone and joint to their proper alignment. "I was happy to help the excited young man on the most important day of his life." The bridegroom arrived on time - after the doctor advised him not to try carrying his bride over the doorstep.