Ontario docs are leaving – patients have trouble finding good doctors

{November 28, 2012}   Dr. Maria Hugi’s Financial Marital Problems


MY FINE WHINE: The sticky wicket of female physicians’ marital finances

Written by Maria Hugi on November 16, 2012 for The Medical Post

Dr. Maria Hugi

It is a well-known fact that female doctors are among the highest-paid individuals on the planet. Sometimes, however, they may not be given credit for their earnings by their spouses. That is why I am driving non-vintage pre-21st century cars. My husband, also an MD, controls the car purchasing and hates the depreciation involved in buying vehicles. The only time I was whisked off to a car dealership faster than an American patient with cardiac chest pain makes it to the cath lab was when our Canadian auto insurance balked at paying for a fender bender that occurred while we were working in the States. He realized we needed to own a car registered in the U.S. when I pointed out that one lawsuit generated by an automobile accident could wipe us out.

I began to wonder if the lack of control over finances by female physicians in a spousal relationship might be a pervasive phenomenon. So, in my usual research style, I resorted to a biased selection of anecdotes drawn, over the years, from female physician friends. One of my friends, a plastic surgeon who was making far more than her orthopedic surgeon husband, had to hide her purchases, usually shoes, from her husband whenever we went shopping. A high-earning ER friend, the bread-winner of the household, had her credit cards cut up by her non-MD husband in his effort to control her finances. Yet another uber-specialist friend whom I took shopping for fur coats (she selected a humble beaver over a mink) had to return the coat when her MD husband, who makes far less than she does, found out.

Even the divorce courts have dealt curiously with female physicians. I again draw on my anecdotal research. When I was working in the American South, a white colleague divorced her brittle, diabetic non-MD husband and did not have to pay alimony while an African–American colleague was assigned alimony, payments to ensure that her able-bodied non-physician husband could continue to live in the style to which he was accustomed. She also had to support the children.

There may be considerate and supportive male spouses out there who respect the contributions of their high-income earning wives and allow them financial leeway. Like the whooping crane, they may exist. I just haven’t seen a whooping crane lately or ever.

Maria Hugi is an emergency physician in Vancouver and in Washington State.


Maria Hugi’s silly little essay has nothing to do with medicine, the Medical Post, or earning more than her husband. It is simply a matter of letting the man she married dominate her by allowing him to remain the Neanderthal he apparently is. An old-fashioned notion in these modern times. Perhaps where Dr. Hugi came from, when she was “young” (her photo shows a plain-as-a-mouse, tired-looking, unsophisticated  60-ish woman), this was considered the accepted norm. These days, educated “real” men and women in solid relationships consult each other and plan and do things “together”. They also allow each other financial freedom without having to provide a reckoning of spending for every pair of shoes or trinket bought. If she wishes to spend money on her own car, or furs that’s fine too! Every woman with her own income, should have her own bank account.   
When you buy shoes, furs, cars, etc. with your own hard-earned money and aren’t withholding any necessities from your children, your spouse has no right to cut up your credit cards. Why were you “hiding’ your smaller purchases anyway, out of a misplaced sense of guilt or because you didn’t want to admit that  –  though you have a medical degree  –  you’re also a woman and you love pretty things?  Hopefully you both contribute to common savings. What you do with your money after that should be your own business. Doesn’t mean you should hide your purchases. Proudly show them off, brag about the wonderful deal you got, and accept compliments, not criticism. 
And by the way Dr. Hugi, your salary isn’t as “high” as you’ve brainwashed yourself  –  or have been brainwashed by others  –  to believe (goodness Maria, where DID you come from?) Many women draw far higher salaries and are better paid in other professions when compared to MDs and the measly dollars per hour or per service they are paid. With Dr. Hugi’s husband an MD too  –  the troubled financial climate for the medical profession can’t have escaped Dr. Hugi entirely. Do us all a favour Maria and limit your writing to scribbling prescriptions only instead of making the rest of us ladies out to be whiners like you. Your husband will thank you as well.
Dr. Hugi definitely moves in the wrong circles and lives an isolated existence when she insists she’s never met “considerate and supportive male spouses out there who respect the contributions of their high-income earning wives and allow them financial leeway”. What is Dr. Hugi’s point when she informs the reader that –  without exception  –  the husbands of her female colleagues, including her own, are in fact small-minded, overbearing tightwads? Is she hoping for agreement or sympathy? Maria’s husband might not be too pleased to be so publicly unmasked as the insufferable “me Tarzan, you Jane” husband she makes him out to be and I wonder:  Why here? Why now? Why so publicly? Why did she marry such a man in the first place? Plenty of high-income- earners available outside the medical pool Maria dahlink   ………..    smart, attractive girls marry them and become “Ladies who lunch” !

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