The Doctor and the Law 1. The medical profession in the new millennium

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Sebha University
It is a difficult time to become a physician in the modern world. Although, our therapeutic armamentarium has never been greater, the pressures on the practice of medicine seem to have increased even more. Physicians talk about ‘the coming medical apocalypse’ ask whether we are ‘helpless’ or whether ‘... being a physician is still fun’? Scholarly research is undertaken to measure the degree of discontent and dissatisfaction with the practice of medicine. Part of the problem lies in the tangle of conflicting messages physicians regularly hear. Although societal measures of health are improving, the incidence of medical mistakes is said to be unacceptably high. Malpractice litigation is said to target ‘bad’ physicians and to be a necessary adjunct to the regulatory and professional discipline, yet nearly one in five doctors reports a malpractice claim annually, and one-third to one-half of high-risk specialists face a claim every year. Are they all bad doctors? Plaintiff attorneys say they carefully screen malpractice claim before filing, yet 70-80% of these claims are still found to be without merit. Therefore, it is not surprising that the physician ‘angst’ is high. Washburn says it plainly enough ‘Ask any clinician: it is getting harder and harder to enjoy practicing medicine’. More than one-third says they would probably not choose to enter medical school again. Although 84% of woman physicians in the United States express satisfaction with their career, 31% say they might not choose to be a physician again.