Health Care News & Discussion
06/04/2002 2:35 PM
Dr Jones, a physician in a California community, received a notice from the medical board that a consumer had complained that he had taken liberties with a patient. A Mrs Francis complained that Dr Jones had raised her left bra slightly while listening to her heart in order to see her mammoplasty scar.
As Dr Jones was preparing his response, he called to inform his attorney concerning this allegation and was immediately told not to send his response to the medical board because he could lose his license. He was told to come in and bring the record. The attorney, Charlotte Brown, prepared a letter to the medical board concerning the allegation stating it was totally unfounded because that was the normal procedure for listening to the mitral valve. She told Dr Jones that she could not let him make any contact with the medical board. She feared that almost anything a doctor would or could say would in some way incriminate him–possibly even send him to jail. So she handled the entire allegation until it was dismissed. The fee was about 20 hours of attorney time or about $6,000. Another expensive month in the life of a California physician’s practice.
In retrospect, Dr Jones remembered that this patient was very pleasant but detached. She would wait 15 minutes, and then reschedule if the doctor was late. She had no significant medical problem. It then dawned on the doctor that Mrs Francis obviously was a paid medical board spy to entrap doctors.
About six months later, Dr Jones met the chairman of the Medical Board at the society office. He started up a conversation and asked for his business card. The Medical Board chairman became so nervous that he dropped his billfold and his card file. This confirmed his suspicions.
So always be cautious when you feel that there is something unusual about your rapport with a patient or when the patient is pleasant, matter of fact and a stoolie. And never, ever, deal with your own medical board. They are not there as your friend. They are there to justify their position with the public by showing how many licenses they have removed. If necessary, they will remove licenses from good doctors rather than lose their jobs.