Let’s say a doctor becomes unwilling or unable to practice medicine – by which I mean, seeing patients either in private practice or via a hospital. What are some alternative job possibilities for someone with a medical degree?
Alternate / related question: if a doctor gets a bad reputation but hasn’t lost his license, would a local clinic still be a possible option? Are there any facilities that are hard-up for a skilled but not-well-regarded guy, or is it like the Chex System – once you’ve got a black mark, you’re screwed for a long time?
And no, I’m not asking for myself. Purely hypothetical here.
Some insurance companies have staff with varying degrees of medical knowledge available to review medical records. Becoming an expert witness may also be an option, depending on medical specialty and license status.
Ooh thanks, Oakminster, those are good possibilities to start with. I’d think the expert witness idea might be troublesome if the doc’s reputation isn’t solid, but then again, it probably depends on the circumstances.
There are a good number of Drs. in the pharma industry .
A doctor without a US license could probably practice in a 3rd world country. There is a famous case of a Dr. who was kicked out of various residency programs when he was suspected of killing patients on purpose. He moved to Africa and starting killing there too. He was eventually caught and convicted of murder in the US.
My wife’s cousin is a doctor that went to medical school in Mexico and never passed his boards in the U.S. He got into the clinical trials business working for a number of the Clinical Research Organizations (CROs) like Quintiles. Now he’s head of Clinical Development at a smaller pharmaceutical company.
I know of another than somehow became a medical consultant for TV shows and movies. She obviously sucks at that too because my wife and I still spot plenty of mistakes in things we watch…
To her defense, I’d doubt in TV and movies they’re going for 100% realism. Even with consultants, they’ll fudge around.
Unless he went back to get the PhD after years and years in practice, I wouldn’t call that “change in careers” per se. Medical schools offer combined MD/PhD programs, and people with those degrees are sought in some areas. It may well be he started his med school career knowing he wanted to do medical research.
My pediatricians “semi-retired”. They had previously done fellowships and work in infectiology, so they’ve sub-specialized and moved from general pediatrics to consultation (in infectious diseases and pediatrics), expert witness, and travel medicine (advising what to do, approving and dispensing vaccines). They have a handful of regular pediatrics left, but those are getting older and they’re not accepting new patients. I’m not sure if I would call that a complete career move, but it is a shift.
There’s a huge need for doctors (with license) in research. The army and navy actively recruit these. I’ve known of some doctors as late as their early 40s that have gone into the army/navy. Of course they have to pass the physicals and abide by regulations like anyone else, but they’re not as tough on them.
These doctors serve in outposts around the world in research capcaities and stateside. Governmental boards always want doctors to serve on their staffs in advisory positions. These are not really full time jobs, but you can combine them and make a full time career.
There are also various resorts and cruise ships that will take a doctor on board. Again these don’t pay well (as doctor salary goes) and they’re generally filled by doctors who are near retirement or such.
I know of a couple of warders in Illinois state prisons that always need temp doctors to fill in.
My brother was an Anglican missionary and they would take just about any doctor. Of course they were in places like Zaire and Vanuatu. So the conditions aren’t as great.
I like the cruise ship / prison idea particularly, though the pharma and insurance industries would certainly be more lucrative.
I hadn’t heard of Michael Swango, Bijou Drains – what an immensely frustrating tale that is. How in God’s name did he avoid arrest for so long? I love (not) how he was only ‘fired’ from the hospitals, not brought up on charges, leaving him free to skulk around and find more victims.
When I was young, I used to sell packed red blood cells. State law required an MD on premises. They had a man who must have been in his 90s serving that function. He shuffled around in a white coat, with a stethoscope around his neck. I guess if there were ever a medical emergency they would just call an ambulance.
A woman I know slightly quit internship after 6 weeks; she just couldn’t hack it. She worked for a while for an insurance company and now has decided to go to law school I have no idea if she will actually practice law.
How about going to university to teach new students? This wouldn’t work if the licence is revoked for mistakes, though.
Years and years ago, I read an article in a computer magazine for young people about cross-subject jobs opening up. The example they gave was of a student starting with biology and taking on computer programming, now working to develop software to assist biologists, and his addiontal knowledge in biology makes the programs much better than pure programmers. Similar probably for doctors.
Also, the field of bionics - biologigal technic, learning from nature - combines biologist, engineers and can probably also use doctors.
There are projects which combine old book experts, pharmacists and probably doctors looking for new medical application from old books on herbs (Hildegard from Bingen and similar, manuals about monastery herb gardens). The trick is to seperate the superstition (this herb is named after St. John, so it will be useful) from the really helpful (Bonewell helps healing bones).
What about ergonomics, developing and designing things so they are better suited to the human body? Part of this field is from sports medicine, but general anatomic knowledge is key.
Going on talk shows or getting your own show on TV giving general health tips to the public - there are so many conflicting advice on what to eat that a doctor (who knows what he’s talking about, not somebody who lost his license due to mistakes) could be very helpful.
There’s no reason an MD who had their license revoked would be unable to teach medical students in a non-clinical setting. For example, one of our 1st year profs is a retired surgeon. I assume she retired “honorably”, but she’d be equally qualified to teach the course if she had lost her license for consistently amputating the wrong limbs.