Doctors Abandon Home Countries for US

It's great for Americans, terrible for the third world
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 8, 2012 1:29 PM CST
An Afghan doctor treats a woman as she lies on a hospital bed after she set herself on fire on March 7, 2012 on the eve of International Women's Day in this file photo.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – When he came to the US, Dr. Kunj Desai intended to return to his native Zambia as soon as he finished surgical training. Now, he doubts he ever will. It's a common story, the New York Times reports. Drastically more foreign doctors flock to the US every year than any other country, thanks to higher wages and a law allowing them to stay in the country indefinitely if they practice in under-served communities. It's great for rural Americans, but a loss for desperately poor countries.

The Times decided to visit Desai's former hospital in Zambia, the best in the country. The operation they observed started late, there was a dirty scalpel on the floor, and when it came time to drill, doctors used a Bosch power drill. That all represented an improvement from Desai's last visit, however. When told of Desai's training in laparoscopy, the hospital chief said to tell him they had a new laparoscope. "He will pack up his bags and come back," he predicted. Desai doesn't sound so sure. "I’m so caught up in my day-to-day stuff," he says. "It’ll be 30 years from now, and I’ll wake up, and I’ll be like, ‘Whatever happened to my idea of going back?’" Full story here. (Read more doctors stories.)

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