DEAR ABBY: I am a woman physician in a small city. My husband is also a physician in the same practice. We have a lovely family, and both of us love our work. We donate time and resources to our community, including free medical care to people who are homeless and the working poor, and money to worthy causes. We are blessed with a wonderful life.
So why am I writing? Because I do not know how to handle a sensitive situation. Our community becomes angry when we refuse to donate to each and every cause. Abby, we give all we can; however, we are early in our careers and are still paying off our loans from medical school.
We live modestly and within our means. We love our community and want our neighbors to know that we, too, are on a budget. Most physicians have seen drastic pay cuts with increased liability, hours and overhead. Unfortunately, many doctors have left the field to pursue technology jobs with higher salaries and fewer hours. Medical schools have watched the business world lure our best and brightest into lucrative careers with less liability. Please enlighten people through your column.
I hope this letter is legible. I wrote it by hand, because I didn't want the office manager to see this on the computer. -- ANONYMOUS FAMILY DOC IN THE USA
DEAR ANONYMOUS DOC: A wise and street-smart man once observed that no one has as much money as other people assume he does. One reason for it is that everyone has a silent partner -- the tax man. And everyone is aware of the effect that managed care has had on the medical community.
For your neighbors to become angry when you cannot donate to each and every cause is wrong. When it comes to charitable giving, like everything else, people must prioritize. There are many worthy causes, and it is impossible to give to all of them. You can't please everyone, so stop allowing people who sulk to lay a guilt trip on you.
Remind your neighbors that you give in ways other than money. Continue to do your best. You have much to be proud of, and your community is lucky to have you.