Judging other doctors is tough. You are torn. On the one hand, as a member of the profession, it’s hard to read stories of misdeeds of fellow cardiologists and remain neutral. You want to call out the foul. You want to set the record straight. That doctor did wrong. Justice needs to be done. I am not like that, and neither are my buds. You are especially sensitive to the perception that doctors take up for their own. You are scared that if you don’t stop the bad kids from misbehaving, the whole class will be punished.
But on the other hand, this whole human doctoring thing is pretty fragile, isn’t it? You have a lot of thoughts in your head. Things like, how perfect am I? Do I respond to financial incentives? Have I always made the best decision for my patients? In hindsight, could another doctor be critical of decisions I made in real-time? The word righteous’ worries me. And not to introduce religion into a medical blog, but it would be deeply disingenuous not to admit that one can wonder about the existence of Karma.
That tension was why I had originally decided to let the most recent story of doctor-misconduct rest. But this one hails from Kentucky. The alleged misdeeds made the front cover of the Courier-Journal and was also covered in the USA Today.
You have heard the storyline before: Cardiologists, perhaps conflicted by financial incentives from their hospital, performed unnecessary cardiac procedures on hundreds of patients over many years. A lawsuit involving more than 280 plaintiffs is ongoing. A little city in rural Kentucky is now in the national news.
I changed my mind about posting some thoughts. It is a local story. The breakdown of trust is one of the reasons why we have a healthcare crisis.
I hope you want to read more. It’s published on the In the Prime Blog over at the Courier-Journal.
The title of the post and link are: When doctors break the public trust.