Frank J. Theuerkauf

1987 to 1988

Over the past several years we have seen more gloom for the practice of medicine than ever before. Things seem to be going completely to pot. Malpractice litigation is rampant, the government is trying to regulate how we practice, our fees are being challenged, we "don't get no respect" from the public. The media, legal profession, and even Uncle Sam are all hostile toward us, we are competing more and more for patients, even by advertising (which used to be unethical), and more of us are retiring younger than ever before.

In view of all this, it seemed to me that it might be interesting to pull out the old crystal ball and predict what the future has in store for us. Because it is the old crystal ball that is doing the reflective speaking, no one can blame me if it is wrong or controversial, but at least it will give us something to think about. Will it be good? Will be be bad? Let's see!

It has been reported that there is a reduction in the quality of medical school applicants as compared with the past. Is that bad? Is a 4.0 average an indication of the ability of the student, once he graduates, to evaluate a patient by combining cognitive knowledge with the skill and intuitive sense required to make a good judgment? Of course not! Most of the doctors in my age category would never have been accepted by medical schools today (many of us had only B+ averages in college), yet medicine has not suffered as a result. And it will not suffer in the future! We will see an entirely new breed of physician in the future, one with less concern for monetary gain and with more compassion and regard for the total welfare of the patient than ever before, I think we will like the new breed, maybe because it will remind us of the old breed.