Surgery Center of Oklahoma Blog

November 1, 2011

Fly this plane, or else!

Filed under: Uncategorized — surgerycenterok @ 7:16 am

Qantas airlines is the 10th largest airline in the world.  Their employees are on strike.  Qantas management has had enough.  They started cancelling flights, even ones that were on the runway.  Now comes the fun part.  The socialist Australian government is considering forcing the airline to fly.  Ok.  Think about this.  How would you like to be on a flight conducted by a crew and pilots that don’t want to be there?

At some level the crew doesn’t find the situation with their employer mutually beneficial.  The answer for the government is to put a gun in the pilot’s ribs and make them fly?  This reminds me of an encounter I had with a surgeon years ago after I had stopped dealing with Medicare.  I had also stopped doing cardiac anesthesia as Medicare had decided to stop paying anesthesiologists adequately.  Example:  the last open heart anesthetic I did was 6 hours long and very difficult and Medicare paid me $285.  I got the message.  Medicare didn’t value my time as much as I valued my time.  The situation was simply not mutually beneficial.  Fair enough. They went too far with their price controls and the result was a shortage…..of me.

Shortly after I stopped doing cardiac cases, a cardiac surgeon found himself waiting for 1 hour for his anesthesiologist for a non-urgent surgery.  He cornered me in the doctor’s lounge.  He was angry…didn’t wait very well.  He told me that he was going to get the administration to make me do cardiac anesthesia.  I laughed.  He got angrier.  I said, “..Dr.  X, picture my preoperative visit with the patient and their family.  Imagine that I say that I don’t really want to be here, that they are making me do your case and that if they really want me to go ahead, even though I want to be somewhere else, I guess I could, or they could wait an hour for someone who wants to be there.”  ”What will they choose?”

Price controls don’t just cause shortages.  In the practice of medicine they result in an “I don’t care” attitude for those who do remain.  You seem to always get what you pay for.

G. Keith Smith, M.D.


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