Friday, May 22, 2009

Doctor Suspended

This past week, a local hospital made the news when we learned a $7 million a year surgeon was suspended when he left his patient on the table before surgery and then could not be found. I received some calls and e-mails about this episode and everyone has an opinion.

I have learned, sometimes the hard way, not to publicly ever comment on a specific case. There are always 2 sides to every story and most of the story is not reported. It just doesn’t make the paper.

Some say it is wonderful that the hospital suspended the doctor involved. Other comments I heard were, “the doctor probably did other things wrong” or “the doctor probably had an alcohol or drug problem”. Of course there were comments about all the lives this doctor has saved before this unfortunate event, or series of events.

Should we be concerned at the high amount of money this doctor was making? Can it be relevant to thinking he is now untouchable? He is still making less money than some ball players but what about the stresses that go along with his work?

The papers only touch on the lawsuits that have been started by other patients who have been harmed. Are the procedures so difficult that there was a chance of harm to begin with? Are the patients who have been hurt, being cared for by another doctor making $7 million?

It is easy to say that the doctor, who probably did wonderful work should be reinstated but what support services are available for the patients and their families who have suffered – even slightly? Has anyone had a conversation with them about their needs, concerns for safety and trust? Or, is it only about the lawsuit and holding the health system accountable?

I want to believe that the system acted appropriately; that the families have a right to be angry. That everything is being done fair and we will all live happily ever after. But when the stories like this make the paper, there is just so much not being reported, and that too is no one’s fault.

Can we feel safer in the hospital now if this doctor isn’t there? Probably not because what about the stories that have not yet been reported?

No comments: