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.