At St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx, a dozen radiologists in training, including Dr. Luke Gerges, 28, are suddenly stranded on an expensive road to nowhere. All received termination notices recently because their hospital is ending their residency program next year as part of a plan to replace its radiologists with a teleradiology company that reads diagnostic images remotely.
“Those days of raking in the dough with radiology are gone,” said Dr. Gerges, who is four years beyond medical school and $300,000 in debt. He said he chose a specialty he loves without caring that big salaries were waning, but never imagined it would be this hard to finish his postgraduate training and get a job. “No one is going to hire me to be a radiologist without my training,” he said.
Few specialties have been immune to the same factors depressing radiology: deep Medicare cuts, cut-rate competition driven by technology, doubts about the health value of many tests and procedures and new measures to tilt public money to primary care.There's a terribly amusing (and sad) e-mail from another hospital, trying to recruit one of these residents:
One hospital, McLaren Macomb, in suburban Detroit, instead offered several residents slots in its “unfunded program,” in which most radiology residents essentially pay for their own positions through donations, typically from a spouse or parents: $65,000 a year to cover a $42,000 salary and $2,000 for expenses.
“Obviously it would be your last choice, but if there are no open funded positions and you can scrounge up the funds, keep it in mind,” the program director, Dr. Eli Shapiro, wrote in an e-mail to Dr. Gerges.I've yet to hear about crowdfunding a postdoc, but I'm sure it's coming. (Guessing Dr. Shapiro never thought he'd read his e-mail in the Times; oops.)