I had a recent post on KevinMD, explaining why I work parttime. It got a few comments (over 130, actually). It was written as a very delayed response to the op-ed piece by Karen Sibert from 2011. (I always jump on bandwagons about two years too late.)
To my surprise, I received a response from Dr. Sibert herself on the post, which kind of irritated me:
Good grief. So much emotion. I really don't recall saying that anyone who works part time is "ruining" medicine. What I said is that no one's medical degree is entirely his or her personal possession; society contributed a lot to that degree in terms of dollars and resources. Accepting the degree confers some obligation--how much, obviously, is a matter of debate.
When my children were small, I did indeed always work full time. I found the time to "blog" once the last one left for college.
The format of the commenting on there is such that it's difficult to have a discussion on there. So I've decided to write my angry reply here. And I'll make a funny post later, just to lighten the mood. I swear.
My piece-by-piece response:
Good grief. So much emotion.
You tell female physicians that work part time that they don't have an appropriate level of "commitment to the profession" and that they owe society to work harder.... and these women get emotional??? Imagine that!
I really don't recall saying that anyone who works part time is "ruining" medicine.
Right, only that our decision to work part time has "serious consequences for patients and the public." Enough so that you felt a need to write an op-ed piece in the NYT.
I said is that no one's medical degree is entirely his or her personal possession; society contributed a lot to that degree in terms of dollars and resources.
So if society didn't contribute so much, how much in loans would we have then? It's already like $300,000. If society didn't contribute, would we have a jillion dollars in loans? Because that's not even a real number.
I love it. We accrue massive loans, we work like a dog in training for at least a decade, yet somehow we are the ones who owe society.
When my children were small, I did indeed always work full time.
Classic physician attitude. "I did it, so you should be able to also." Well, if I worked 42 hours in a row with no sleep, I don't get why the interns can't do it anymore. Bell Commission? What? No, you don't get it. I did it. So everyone else should be able to also. Nay, they should have to. What? It causes burnout and unhappiness? No, but I did it. And I was fine. Everyone else is lazy.
I found the time to "blog" once the last one left for college.
Okay, she's convinced me. I'm shutting this blog down. I'll return in 16 years. And I'll also save everything else I enjoy doing for then too. I'm off to repay my debt to society!
Even if I disagree with Dr. Sibert, I genuinely respect her courage in voicing a somewhat controversial opinion under her own name in a public forum. But then she writes a passive-aggressive response like the above. I'd respect her far more if she stuck to her guns, even if I didn't like what she was saying.