A plague doctor was a medical physician who treated victims of the bubonic plague. In times of epidemics, such physicians were specifically hired by towns where the plague had taken hold. Since the city was paying their salary, they treated everyone: both the wealthy and the poor. However, some plague doctors were known to charge patients and their families additional fees for special treatments or false cures. Typically they were not professionally trained nor experienced physicians or surgeons, but rather they were often either second-rate doctors unable to otherwise run a successful medical practice or young physicians seeking to establish themselves.These doctors rarely cured their patients; rather, they served to record a count of the number of people contaminated for demographic purposes.