Why you want to go to med school instead of vet school

A couple of recent news items:

  • Australian surgeon performs “intricate surgery” on a goldfish for a fee of 200 Australian dollars (about USD$179), including anesthesia. The surgery was a life-or-death issue for George the goldfish.
  • New York surgeon assists in a three-hour operation, performed by a different surgeon, and collects $117,000. Was the surgery for Peter Drier as valuable as it was for George the goldfish? The article says “Studies are limited but have generally concluded that after two years, patients who have surgery for disk problems do no better than those treated with painkillers and physical therapy…” [The total bill for Drier’s surgery, including hospital fees, payment for the actual surgeon, and the anesthesia, was about $310,000.]


  1. Izzie L.

    September 21, 2014 @ 5:42 pm


    George didn’t have insurance. There is a market failure here: Drier doesn’t care (actually the article indicated that he did care, somewhat, but folded like a cheap suit when he got a “threatening letter” from the surgeon’s lawyer) because his insurance company is paying the bill. The insurance company doesn’t care because they will just pass the cost (plus a markup) on to Drier’s employer in the form of higher premiums.

  2. Jack Crossfire

    September 22, 2014 @ 7:33 am


    It’s amazing how fast prices have gone up in the last 20 years. Neurosurgeons who made $200,000 in 1995 now make $590,000. The only surgery I ever had was a $1200 orthopedic job in 1996. That must be over $100,000 now.

  3. jseliger

    September 22, 2014 @ 3:53 pm


    Why you want to go to med school

    Why you don’t want to go to med school, especially when the alternatives are so attractive.

    Surgery residencies are apparently having trouble attracting prospective surgeons, because who wants to do a grueling, miserable five-year residency (minimum) to make $300 – $400K, when that extra $100 – $200K isn’t going to lead to a dramatic quality-of-life increase over other specialties?

  4. Matt Kerr

    September 22, 2014 @ 5:11 pm


    “I don’t mind being under paid or overworked, just not at the same time” Quote from a veterinary surgeon on why she was now doing medicine (from my wife’s tutorial). She had also fixed the jaw of a fish once…

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