Is there an American Doctor in the house?


At the risk of appearing xenophobic, I ask this question:
What has happened to American doctors?

I have had contact with several medical groups during the past couple of years, and have noticed that most doctors were named Mohamed, or had Asian or unpronouncable (at least to me) names from Asia or the Asian subcontinent. I even had a Chinese surgeon who drove the nurses crazy by writing notes and orders in his native language.

The group with which I am presently associated has 200 doctors, four of whom are Americans. This morning I was sent home from an appointment after a doctor from India refused to serve me because I had not followed directions he and his office had failed to provide. He told me that he came here from India on a student visa, went to medical school, and is now raising his US-born children here.

Is there a shortage of American doctors? Why? Have they all gone out of the country to be medical missionaries?

I encountered a young man, born in California with American roots going back several generations. This Eagle Scout had maintained perfect grades from elementary school through a Master’s in biological science. He had what I considered excellent recommendations for medical school. He was denied admission to a tax-supported California school because the school had a quota to fill with foreign-born students. He had been trying for two years to find an American university that would accept him; he did receive an invitation to a medical school in México, but he didn’t speak Spanish, only English and high school German.

Are these things a California phenomenon or are these things nationwide?

Am I narrow-minded here? I don’t think so. My neighbor had an excellent brain surgeon from New Delhi, but I am acquainted with a former professor of neurosurgery from a respected university in México whose credentials were not judged good enough here for any position but dishwasher. My neighbor has been fortunate to have been served during more than 30 years by some outstanding neurosurgeons, most from the USA.

Am I prejudiced against foreigners? No, I am happy to say that this generation of my family includes people from Japan, México,
and Australia. My Native American blood is mixed with that of ancestors from Ireland, Germany, Italy and other European countries, and one of these gave us a great-uncle with roots in Africa.

Where are the American doctors?


I’m not living in the USA, but my own GP is born in India. She was educated in Canada where we simply have a shortage of doctors and it is to be expected that we will have immigrant Doctors, Engineers, Accountants etc…

Why do you ask the question? Would you ask the question “where are all the American hotel cleaning staff?”


There’s plenty in Houston. My OBGyn is American, my son’s pediatrician is American, my husband’s MD is American. My MD is has a Hispanic name, but I don’t doubt she’s American. My dentist is also American. California is the first stop coming in from Asia, so maybe it is a California thing.

I’m sorry you were sent home this morning. Professional folks can sometimes be not so professional. :rolleyes: Come to Houston. You’ll get a lot more house for your money here too. :smiley:


These guys are the American doctors. Welcome to the melting pot :slight_smile:


Yeah, if they are here legally, pursuing their chosen profession, and not planning on blowing any of us up…well, there is nothing more American than that. And especially if they are the parents of American born children (i.e. citizens) then they have a right to be here to raise their families.

What do you mean by “American”? White? Native English speaker? Just not named Mohammed? There are native-born Americans named Mohammed (and Jose, and Misako, and Mischka…)


Have you forgotten who was behind the most recent plot to cause mayhem in Britain? Muslim doctors.


I understand what you are saying, although it usually doesn’t bother me. I did have a bad experience last month though when I had to have a repeat mammogram due to it looking like there was something suspicious on my previous set of films. The second mammogram technician was Korean and spoke very little English. She really was trying to do more than her job though, telling me what was on the first set, scolding me for how long it took me to come back for the second set (I had taken the first available appointmet). When you couple that with the fact that I almost couldn’t understand her and she didn’t understand the questions that I was asking her, it made for a very scary and upsetting visit until I could hear from a doctor that everything was OK.

I think it is normal that when you have a bad experience that you want to vent a little bit. That doesn’t necessarily make you xenophobic, just human.

Even though I have had some very positive experiences with Asian doctors, that day I was quite put out dealing with someone who spoke little English. I’m sure anyone who talked to me that day would have thought I was a total racist.

Give it a couple of days, and I’m sure this won’t be bothering you nearly so much.


My only complaint about having not many choices of American doctors is that most foreign doctors have a heavy accent that I can’t understand. I need to be able to communicate with my dr and that is why I would not choose a foreign dr.


My husband is a physician and works in a large teaching hospital, meaning they have residency programs for almost all the specialties. We still have a lot of American born physicians, but a large number of the medical residents in certain fields are foreign medical graduates who come to the US to train in their specialty and then work. There is also a medical school affiliated with the hospital for whom dh works.

According to dh, the best and the brightest American students are no longer flocking to medicine. Some of the best and brightest still are, of course, but not nearly as many as in previous years. The training is long and arduous,and for many specialties the hours once you’re out of training remain very long. Some specialties make ridiculous amounts of money but many specialties get the long hours, the nights, the weekends and an income that is not commensurate with the responsibility and years of training, especially once med mal premiums are considered. For example, my ob/gyn has been in practice 25 years, has never been sued and pays over $300,000.00 each year for med mal insurance.

Given all that, dh says students are opting for other fields which are financially lucrative but don’t require the same level of risk and work. Dh was reading in his medical journals about the coming shortages of mds in various specialties. He thinks foreign medical grads are going to continue to play a big role in American health care.

Dh’s specialty is one of the more popular ones (although not the most lucrative, by far) so his residency program has always been filled with high quality American medical grads. They do have foreign medical grads rotate through his department and in addition to language, he finds some of the cultural attitudes hamper the medical training.



I feel so sorry for older people, who can not understand the accents. I know my own grandfather had a doctor with a heavy accent, it frustrated him everytime we took him, so we ended up changing doctors.

Let’s say we are all in an emergency situation and the doctor is asking questions that you can’t understand…just pray someone knows what’s going on and can intervene.

Luckily…all my doctors are American and do not have accents.


Lots of Americans have accents.


That is very true, and some can be quite difficult to understand.


I agree. I don’t care so much about ethnicity, but I do want to understand what they’re saying. --KCT


It’s been my impression that ‘physician’ has turned into one of those ‘jobs that Americans just won’t do’.

It takes many years of expensive schooling, the pay is not that great considering the expenses, the hours are long, and the doctor must sometimes put insurance company (both the doctor’s own malpractice insurance and the patient’s insurance) considerations before the patient’s best interest.

Sometimes foreign born students see medicine as a good opportunity while American born students see it as stifling. What I’ve seen in California (where everyone is a minority) is that few American born doctors are willing to be general practioners or OBs. But they are willing to go into specialty medicine which are less subject to insurance company guidelines.

I’ve known other people who have gone into medical related fields such as pharmacology, biochemistry, and research. They get to feel like they are helping people, make good money, and don’t have the headaches.


I have had many student workers from India who are going into residency here in America. I like them, and usually don’t have any trouble with their accents, but I am around them all the time.
I can understand how it might be difficult for someone who is not used to them.


is there an American nurse in the house? down here, and when family members have been hospitalized in other parts of the country, I have observed a majority of nurses are Filipina. I suspect they have been recruited to solve nursing shortages in some parts of the country.

I also observe many foreign-born doctors, but a lot of them are interns or residents, who were educated abroad but are working on credentials to practice in the US, or are being educated here and plan to work in other countries.

my daughter has here children in a hospital that is part of a university medical center (she also teaches part-time on that campus) and notes there are classes offered in speech and communication for non-English speaking doctors and other hospital personnel.


Thinking about this example where he had apploed to school at a California public university who denied him due to having a quota to fill with foreign born students…this might have a lot to do with the economic situation that California is in. Public universities have had a lot of their funding cut. California residents pay very, very low tuition compared to out of state or foreign residents. It might be that public universities have a quota to fill for foreign born students simply because they pay much higher tuition and therefore solve a lot of their budget problems.


Although a “seasoned citizen”, I generally don’t have a problem with accents, or with people from other countries including India. One of my favorite people is a former employer, “call me ‘Mo’” Mohammed, from India who has a strong accent. And just yesterday, a very nice businessman from Iran (with a decided accent) asked what part of Europe I came from, based on *my *accent. I was born and raised in Southern California, and had never been ask this before:confused: .

My problem with being forced to go only to foreign-born doctors is that, like the one I visited yesterday, is the attitude “I came here, legally or illegally, I’m here now, like it or lump it! I’m entitled.”

Am I afraid of foreign docs? No, the Vietnamese doctor who operated on my eye was nice and did a “perfect” job. The Chinese cardiologist who operated on an emergency basis did fine, I’ve had no more problems. The neurosurgeon who served my neighbor was as good as any I’ve met.

Am also apprehensive about the “Bachelor of Surgery” diploma on the wall. Do I want this person close to me with a knife?

Am acquainted with an admissions officer at a state university. He is required to spend almost half his time recruiting students from Asia for scholarships to meet some kind of quota, while rejecting qualified, motivated US citizen students, many also classified as “minority”, who live in the shadow of the same university. This Mexican-American PhD is not happy about this, but it is his job.


My parents have accents and I get so angry when people say they can’t understand them. Honestly, if you take the time to LISTEN carefully and have some patience with them, there usually isn’t a problem. So many people dismiss others because of their accents. I don’t think I have ever had a problem understanding an accent.


I am sure this topic has been mentioned elsewhere, but in my city, there are very few Canadian born priests. Most are from Vietnam, the Phillippines, or India. They all have accents. I have no problem with this: I am thankful they are who they are.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit