Yesterday a patient- businessman by profession got a surgery done by me… When I handed him the bill of around 20k, he felt he had been charged exhorbitantly and insisted on discussion with me that I should convince him that what I had charged for a 40 mins procedure was valid…

I told him let’s compare our professions and then you decide.. He has a shop in the busiest locality of our town which sells puffs & beverages.

1- Cost of making the puff Rs 2 Selling price Rs 15 .. Margin 700%. My cost of disposables and wear & tear of equipments 5k Margin 400%. ( If you remove the income tax I pay of 7k on the 20k bill the margin drops to 150%.) Of course he neither gives a bill nor pays taxes on the puffs sold by him. I REST MY CASE.

2- His cost of investment Is 5 lakh for the equipment to make puffs. My investment in the hospital Rs 2 cr +. I REST MY CASE.

3- The space he requires for his shop 200 sq ft. My hospital space 2500 sq. ft. I REST MY CASE.

4- He just sits at the cash counter and the people employed by him 4. My staff strength 10 and I have to do most of the work they are just supportive staff. I REST MY CASE.

5- How long did it take for him to master his profession- less than 6 months. It took me 12 years of burning midnight Oil. I REST MY CASE.

6- How many puffs does he sell daily-Nearly 2000 sometimes more. Here for me it’s a one man show so usually examine not more than 100-125 pts daily that too getting totally exhausted while he is just collecting Cash. ( That too not paying crumbs as taxes). I REST MY CASE.

7- Has anyone bargained with him for the price of a puff or has he sold the puff at even a Paisa discount .. NO . But he wants me to reduce my bill by at least 15%. I REST MY CASE.

8- I asked him what would he or his relatives & friends have done in case something went wrong or the lesion recurred. He replied that he would have asked for a 100 % refund, ransacked my hospital and perhaps manhandled me. I retorted that if somebody falls sick eating his puff or doesn’t like the taste does he refund the money back. He said OF COURSE NO. I REST MY CASE.

9- He felt the room rent of the AC room of Rs 2500 was more. I asked him when he goes on vacation what does he pay for an AC room in a hotel where he spends only 8- 10 hrs. He said a minimum of Rs 6-8000 and does the owner of the hotel come twice a day or on call to ask him how he is doing or someone comes twice a day to monitor his vitals. He replied in the NEGATIVE. I REST MY CASE.

10- What happens when he retires..??? His son takes over just like he took it over from his father without any training and sits on the cash counter collecting money. When I do retire I have to lock my hospital and sell the equipment as scrap. I REST MY CASE.

11- What happens when he is not well or has to attend a social function and unable to attend to his Shop. ? The work goes on.. The puffs keep on selling. Whereas it’s a day of 0 income for me but the expenses of the hospital remain. I REST MY CASE.

12- His working hrs 9-1 in the morning. Post his sumptuous lunch and 2 hr siesta. 5-8 in the evening. We docs normally work for 12-14, hrs a day. Mostly it’s a working lunch, that too we have to skip sometimes. No wonder of all the professions the life expectancy of a Doctor is the least. I REST MY CASE.

Yes, we Doctors do make a decent sum of money but the general people don’t realize the investment and efforts that go behind it. As regards the RETURN ON INVESTMENT we are probably at the bottom of the pyramid as we have invested the best time of our life studying & mastering our profession, heavily invested on our Hospital and equipments which constantly have to be replaced or upgraded, invested our Time with family and friends on our patients ( of the limited time we have on this planet as the life expectancy of we docs is one of the lowest probably because of the high levels of adrenalin we secrete) To end on a lighter note probably A massage parlor makes 100 times more returns on the investment than a Hospital.

-Supreet Prabhu.

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