Surgeon vs. Plumber

Discussion in 'Too Hot for Swamp Gas' started by gatordpm, Sep 10, 2013.

  1. gatordpm
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    gatordpm Premium Member

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    I thought I would share an interesting anecdote that I experienced last week.

    I had just finished clinic in the morning and was sitting down to have lunch when my phone rang. It was the hospital, they wanted to move my case up to 12:30 from 1 o'clock. I said fine and quickly finished my meal and took the 15 min ride out to the hospital.

    I get there at about 12:25 and see the patient. I check her labs and consent form and discuss the operation/post-op protocol with her and her family. For whatever reason, she doesn't get back in the room until about 1:10. After 10 minutes of positioning and putting her to sleep the case gets started.

    I make an incision on the foot. I dissect well and maintain good hemostasis throughout. I reach the heel bone and reduce the fracture. I inspect the joint and make sure that this is aligned as best as possible. I maintain this with 2 small screws across the fracture fragment. I confirm with this with intra-operative X-ray. I then close the deep tissue, sub cutaneous tissue and the skin. This took about an hour plus 10 minutes to put the dressing/splint on.

    After another 10-15 minutes of talking to the family, filling out paperwork, and performing my dictation, I'm finally ready to go home. All in all, it took about 2-2.5 hours.

    I go home and have a call on my voicemail from a plumber. My wife and I have been looking to replace our hot water heater because it is old and has now started to leak. I called a major home improvement store to get a quote on the cost of this.The plumbing company that they contracted came to the house while I was there and stated that it would pretty much be a simple basic exchange. I would need a new stand ($40) and an expansion tank ($40). The quote for just labor to do this was just over $700.

    I will probably make about 800 for the above procedure that I mentioned. This includes all follow up visits for the next 90 days, approximately 4-6 15 minute visits.

    Anyway, just thought it was interesting to pass along. I'm in no way bitter and wouldn't change anything I've done, as I do love the profession. I just thought many might like to hear this story. Also, I am not going with the that plumbing company, as I called around and have been quoted approximately $300 for the job.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2013
  2. gatordowneast
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    gatordowneast Well-Known Member

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    Doc, I have several friends in your profession and have heard the history on Medicare reimbursements for different procedures and of course the private insurers typically try to follow. Hopefully, we get Obamacare defunded or thrown out because the situation will only get worse.
  3. oldgator
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    oldgator Premium Member

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    tip---Angies list

    Have been a nurse for many years. And a memorable time for a number of years with DPM interns who had clinical on our floor(medsurg specializing in Neuro but due to being in S Fla most cases also had other medical/surgical issues). Our floor for years has gotten along well with doctors for two very simple reasons.
    1. We respect what it took for them to become doctors
    2. WE have a very large coffee pot in our breakroom(a very large breakroom the size of two patient rooms due to station being converted from a rehab unit). In any case our coffee pot is one of those 100 cup metal percolator beasts. And we typically fix 50 cup batches of coffee at a time. We have decent coffee we buy by the pound(Dunkin Donut, Starbuck's, and one nurse from Jamaica brought from Jamaica a large amount of pure Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee). When we first went to doing this after years of a dinky Mr Coffee with cheap coffee and powder creamer to the 100 cup beast with decent coffee along with quarts of cream on ice next to the pot we noticed something. It started the first morning at 6:30am that we brewed in the big pot. A doctor came off the elevator who typically started his rounds in the hospital on our unit, with a big cup of coffee in his hand and his eyes closed. He had done this for years and would basically sleep walk into the nursing station. Well he came off that elevator and took a few steps then stopped in mid stride and lifted his head and sniffed the air and then his eyes popped wide open. He came into the nursing station and was his usual self(very pleasant) and we asked him if he wanted some of our coffee. His face lit up like a kid on Christmas. The word got around to other docs and they for some reason got friendlier to us. In any case, we also had DPM interns on our floor. And though many docs and nurses tend to treat interns like crap. Our floor took pride in treating students well(be they interns, nursing students, or even the students who were doing clinical to become nursing assts). And they were all welcome to the coffee. One of the doctors set up a collection jar for people to put money into to help us purchase the coffee and cream. and the coffee got better and better. One of the DPM interns was Hawaiian and she came back from visiting her parents there with 30 pounds of pure Kona coffee.

    My God, that was good, strong, potent coffee

    We didn't charge for the coffee. And it was available to any who wanted it(including patients whose diet permitted coffee). And amazing things happened.
    ---people were less bitchy
    ---the system wasn't abused
    ---the quality of medical care on our floor improved a great deal as people were less stressed out though more caffeinated.
    ---friction that often exists between nurses and doctors was minimal
  4. Row6
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    Row6 New Member

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    1 $300 labor will include the plumbers truck, tools, insurance, office costs, etc. I'm guessing you aren't paying the hospital out of your $800.
    2 I've built quite a few nice projects for doctors but pretty sure my plumber can't afford me.
    3 What's your point?

    That being said, the old joke is a good one:

    Doc calls the plumber to his house for a late night busted pipe. When fixed the doc gets the bill for $100 an hour and says "I'm a doctor and that's more than I make!" Plumber says "Yeah, that's why I got out of medicine."
  5. QGator2414
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    QGator2414 VIP Member

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    Thanks for sharing. Good stuff.

    One question though...

    What was "tip---Angies list" for?
  6. gatordpm
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    gatordpm Premium Member

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    - Do you really want to discuss the overhead of a doctor? You don't think I have insurance to pay as well? staff? billers? office? etc.
  7. QGator2414
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    QGator2414 VIP Member

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    You see row thinks he should own a part of your life but others should not own a part of his to provide them shelter.

    It is what it is...
  8. Bushmaster
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    Bushmaster Well-Known Member

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    Maybe old gator should have a coffee summit with Obama. I found myself taking a liking to him/her as I was reading the coffee post.

    Row's joke was funny!!! I hope this doesn't mean I am becoming a lib.
  9. GT Gator
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    GT Gator Well-Known Member

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    I have a good friend who owns a small plumbing contracting/repair business. He rakes in the cash.

    Why? It's all about supply and demand:

    Here's a few articles detailing the shortage of plumbers:

    BusinessWeek
    WSJ

    And, at the same time, it's relatively common knowledge that we have an oversupply of surgeons. For instance:

    Orlando Sentinel
  10. Row6
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    Row6 New Member

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    No doubt you do, but when you are in the hospital facilities are billed separately.

    Are you saying you don't make as much as a plumber. Jokes are jokes but docs are still the highest paid job in America, apart from CEO's and NBA players, and by a long shot. I don't get the sympathy plea.
  11. gatordpm
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    gatordpm Premium Member

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    Sympathy plea? I just thought it was an interesting story. I apologize for wasting your time.
  12. scrappygator
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    scrappygator Active Member

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    The shortage of plumbers, electricians, etc., is due in part to the everyone should go to college bs that the schools are putting out. No, everyone does not want to go, and No everyone does not need to go. Need more emphasis on training high schoolers marketable skills in the trades.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Spurffelbow833
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    Spurffelbow833 Well-Known Member

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    You didn't build that!
  14. neisgator
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    neisgator Belligerent Gator

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    Very true.
  15. GT Gator
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    GT Gator Well-Known Member

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    I think the everyone-must-go-to-college paradigm is only part of it...

    Another part is that many of today's HS'ers don't have the grit or desire to do the dirty and difficult jobs required of plumbing or electrician apprentices. Who wants to dig ditches or crawl under crawl spaces, when they can get a cushy and lucrative job designing interactive video games?
  16. neisgator
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    neisgator Belligerent Gator

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    I buy what you are selling.
  17. LittleBlueLW
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    LittleBlueLW Premium Member

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    Well, I have never heard of 'surgeons crack'. Plumbers have their own special niche for sure.
  18. HallGator
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    I did some plumbing work yesterday. Took me three trips to the store before I got everything I needed. My gas bill for the job is going to be higher than the labor.
  19. gatordowneast
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    gatordowneast Well-Known Member

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    Note to self (and Hall). Call plumber next time. I don't attempt plumbing or electrical.
  20. HallGator
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    No way. I still did it for about a third the cost, or less, than a plumber.

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