A Physician in Manhattan whose name I will not mention here has been accused of one of the worst crimes a healthcare provider can be accused of. Sexual Assault.
This particular physician is famous, and has been widely known as a huge patient advocate throughout the medical community. He has written at least one book about Physician-Patient relations. And not the ones that were allegedly going on in that ER Room.
We can look at this from a few angles.
- He sexually assaulted a patient and to protect the safety of the public he must be jailed, and his medical license revoked. His career will be destroyed.
- He did not sexually assault a patient, rather his patient hallucinated after being given morphine. Which we all know is an occasional adverse reaction to morphine. His career will be destroyed.
- His patient was not honest. His career will be destroyed.
Do you see a common theme here?
His career will be destroyed.
You know, it occurs to me that something like this could happen to me on any day. When I worked in the ER, a patient threatened to punch one of our techs in the face because we were out of blankets. I told the patient that it was inappropriate and that further threats would cause me to call the police. It was a holiday weekend and the linen company underestimated our census. It’s unfortunate. but it happens. We were using doubled sheets, bedspreads, etc. The patient was there for a problem which involved some pain, which was addressed. The patient called my boss on Tuesday and told her that I was abusive in my language, and refused to address his pain. The charting told another story. Luckily, my boss knew I was not abusive, and I had already sent her an email about the threats, and what we needed to do about these things as an organization.
That could have ended differently.
We have seen all sorts of allegations in the news against healthcare providers. What we barely ever see is the follow up story. Unless it is really juicy and awful. We never see the stories of those who are cleared from their supposed crimes.
Perhaps there should be some kind of law in place so healthcare providers, teachers, police officers, etc should be innocent until proven guilty. That means we would have to be kept out of the news until our guilt was determined. As long as we are barred from practicing during that time, I feel as though it would be appropriate. The public would be protected and we could possibly work in our profession again. Agree or disagree?
While the public must be protected, it should not be at all costs. Unfortunately, we must also be protected from them sometimes. It is terrible to say, but we live in a litigious society. We also come across many people who are untruthful, or mentally ill, or become angry when we do not give them precisely what they want instead of what they actually need to become healthy.
Can you tell me about a time this happened to you or someone you know? Or maybe about a famous case?
****Edit to above. Please re-read this before you assume I am somehow victim-blaming. My very first response to this was that if he is a dangerous rapist he needs to go to jail and lose his medical license. I am simply bringing to light the vulnerability of healthcare providers. I do not know this physician, I do not have a dog in this fight.