Medicine: Back to the Boondocks

U.S. doctors have been increasingly reluctant to practice in rural areas. Besides making less money than their urban colleagues, rural doctors must always be on call. When emergencies occur, they often travel great distances.

Though isolated from medical centers and their special equipment and expertise, they must provide a variety of services—from obstetrics to treating snake bites. Still, they must cope with all of medicine's red tape: keeping records, collecting fees, filling out endless forms.

As a result many rural communities are often without the services of a doctor and are eager to accept anyone who is remotely qualified. That sometimes leaves them...

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