How many of you would take a job that paid 200 dollars an hour for driving your car? (for my international readers that’s 200 euros, 1400 yuan, or 12,000 rubles).
All of you, right?... But no doctors.
$200 an hour is what I earn for a distant housecall. It may take three hours to drive fifty miles to Newport Beach, care for a patient, and return.
I’ve made hundreds, but the colleague who covers for me refuses them, and no other housecall or hotel doctor in Los Angeles will drive far.
I’m not exaggerating when I write that I’m paid for driving. 95 percent of my patients suffer minor illnesses – respiratory infections, rashes, upset stomachs – that I’ve seen a thousand times. So it’s a matter of (1) a long, boring drive, (2) doing some easy stuff, and (3) another long, boring drive.
Doctors get into trouble when they assume no one is sick, so I try to pay attention. And five percent of patients describe symptoms that might be serious. I worry on those drives, but usually everything works out.