Medicine is about sacrifice


Fam Pract Manag. 1999 Oct;6(9):10.

To the Editor:

Many articles about part-time practice or cutting back hours at the office are appearing in journals. The catch phrases of the day appear to be self-oriented — “quality of life,” “best of both worlds,” “time to enjoy myself” and “more time for my family” are but a few.

Why did we go into medicine in the first place? Was it simply for job satisfaction? Was it for money and the material things it can buy? How about for knowledge and the power and control over others it brings? Maybe so. We sure don't seem to use words like “duty,” “responsibility” and “self-sacrifice” to describe our practices.

I realize that medicine is a jealous mistress that would take all our time and effort if we allowed it, but sacrifice is part of what medicine is about. My wife and family have had to sacrifice too, sharing me with my patients and the community. But we're still together after 20 years, more solid than ever, and we're continuing our adventure.

“Care and Compassion available 1–4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays” doesn't cut it for me. I need to consider the expectations of the good people of Minnesota who support the university at which I started learning the art of medicine. I think they deserve more.


Copyright © 1999 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
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