More harm than good? (Medical OPEN THREAD)

I am not sure where to begin this post, other than to start out by questioning whether the medical profession does more harm than good.

It is beyond the series of recent news events of the harms done by the (usually male) individual doctors and surgeons. A quick recap from this blog just recently:

Over 40 years of dangerous and debilitating delivery practises in Ireland (symphysiotomies)

Transvaginal ultrasound used as an opportunity for sexual assault

Even the surgical and hormonal treatment of trans, and the speed with which the medical profession (and government) has accommodated this fad

On the ultrasound thread, several radfems commented how unnecessary many of these check-ups actually are, as well as Mary highlighting yet another case of at least 26 women sexually assaulted by one anaesthesiologist.

Even this, a sadistic prick of a surgeon who removed a woman’s clitoris just for the hell of it. Thankfully he has been found guilty.

There are several converging factors in all of this. It is well known that predators will gravitate towards professions that will give them access to victims, every day we hear of yet another teacher arrested or charged with a gazillion child-porn images found on his computer. So we have some creepy dudes gravitating towards medicine and even gynaecology to give them sexual access to their victims. Thankfully some places now require a nurse in the room for gynae exams, but this is far from universal. It was always quite bizarre to me that most of the gynaecologists were male, were treating all sorts of things from period problems to maternity, when they don’t even know firsthand what it is even like to have a period.

Supposedly medicine is the caring profession, but it is structured so that most of the ones at the top, doctors and surgeons, get paid the most, and the majority at the bottom, predominately female, the nurses, get paid squat. Males are not known for their ‘caring side’, yet they dominate the profession, and get to make most of the overall decisions.

The system of a lot of unnecessary testing, designed by the medical profession to milk funds out of health insurers and providers, state-funded or private. A lot of times these tests are not warranted at the frequency unless there is a family history of similar, or some sort of exposure risk.

Don’t even get me started on the plastic surgeons, among the highest paid of the medical profession, doing a lot of unnecessary and multiple surgeries, exploiting vulnerable people with body image issues, including a lot of trans people. Correcting the disfiguring problems of birth or accident is noble and helpful, but this is certainly the minority of plastic surgery being done. The majority are money-grubbing opportunists out to make a huge buck.

Let’s not forget that in the beginning of the (male-run) medical profession, they killed more than they helped, with the longest trial-and-error learning curve of any profession.

Those people at the lower end of society have to put up with sub-standard care, just enough to keep most of the workforce alive for the factories and menial jobs. With an attitude of not caring at the mortality rate.

The lowest paid in the medical profession, the nurses, who generally do care, are powerless to make any real changes to the system.

Many of the whistleblowers in the medical profession are nurses and female doctors. Indeed, most of the whistleblowers in most professions are female. Frequently they get sacked for pointing out problems.

The bottom line for the medical profession is the prestige and money. It is a huge arm of the capitalist system, and not to be trusted.

Apologies that this post really didn’t go anywhere, I think I just needed a rant to get it out of my system. I am really getting sick of the number of multi-victim sexual assaults of late.

If you have any other news articles on the same theme, feel free to post them here as well. In other words, this thread can be a sort of medical-related open thread (I have even put an ‘open thread’ category on it so you can find it again).

50 thoughts on “More harm than good? (Medical OPEN THREAD)

  1. jilla

    The thing is, doctors are never put out of business. Somehow they are recyclable to the nth. They move to another jurisdiction and pick up where they left off, with the patients never even knowing they sexually assaulted, raped, disabled and killed women. They also are NEVER sanctioned unless it’s a criminal offense, and even then their insurers fight hard and dirty. Not sure how it works in the U.S, but in Canada, the Physicians Protective Association will put a private investigator on anyone who makes a complaint to them about one of their member physicians. And the character assassination starts there. You, not the doctor. They will spend millions to defend a $5000 suit against a doctor. Because a doctor cannot be seen to have made a mistake.


  2. FAB Libber

    A male gynecologist is like a mechanic who’s never owned a car.
    More like one who has never driven a car, but has read books about it.


  3. jilla

    Mary you must remember this; Wai-Ping was sued by 375 women who had been hysterectomized, castrated, had their bladders damaged, nearly bled to death, when he performed UNNECESSARY gynea surgery, damaging and removing HEALTHY organs. The CBC Fifth Estate investigative program is still online. (I know, I’m weird; I watch stuff like this, don’t need to watch CSI when doctors provide real case scenarios).

    The first case was brought by a nurse, whom he left to bleed to death, and frantically used her cell phone to call her colleagues at ANOTHER hospital to send an ambulance for her. They did.

    All this, and I wonder WHERE he’s practicing medicine now? Because having a med license pulled in one jurisdiction doesn’t mean he can’t be licensed in another.

    Wei-Ping, backed by the Canadian Medical Protective Assoc, 10 years on, is still fighting this, case by case, the Medical assoc is spending millions to impoverish his victims. It’s now almost 20 years since most of them were butchered by him.

    “Wai-Ping — an obstetrician-gynecologist who had amassed a multitude of patient complaints and lawsuits against him dating back to 1992 — lost his licence in 2004, pleading no contest before a disciplinary panel of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. The panel reviewed the cases of 47 women, including Escobar, and declared Wai-Ping incompetent in each case, noting his complication rate for some procedures was 20 times the provincial average.

    Escobar, 31 at the time of the operation, is suing him for medical negligence. She is among 375 women who launched a $25 million malpractice lawsuit in 2001 against Wai-Ping and the Ajax-Pickering hospital where he worked for nearly a decade. He has since settled with three women — two of them just last week — and continues to defend other actions in court.

    The case has already dragged through the courts for almost five years, beset by court delays, failed attempts for mediation and appeals filed by lawyers defending Wai-Ping and paid for by the Canadian Medical Protective Association.”

    The Fifth Estate investigative program on this.


  4. FAB Libber

    Why the hell is the Canadian Medical Protective Association continuing to defend this creep after he has already been struck off? I can understand them wanting [financial] damage limitation against an existing hospital, but a former quack already struck off? wtf.


  5. FAB Libber

    Jilla left this comment on the wrong thread, I can’t move it between the threads:
    And in a different article he “mistook ovaries for cysts”. Removed them of course, in a young woman.

    (I removed the comment from the other thread)


  6. jilla

    For the reason I stated above: a doctor cannot do wrong. As long as they can keep it from being LEGAL, it means the same as he didn’t.

    The Canadian Medical Protective Association’s legal fees are paid for by

    THE TAXPAYER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Dr. Mark Stewart ~ Debbie Maki was one of 22 abused patients who sued convicted molester Dr. Mark Stewart along with the College of Physicians and Surgeons. Said Maki: “There is a need to challenge a system that enables doctors to abuse patients without repercussion or reproach.” Ultimately, Dr. Stewart was convicted of nine indecent assault charges and sentenced to four years federal time. The College never provided a tally of the complaints it amassed against Stewart during his 25-year practice, but records indicate police interviewed 60 patients before charging him with 76 sex crimes relating to his medical treatment. Stewart continued practicing and abusing patients long after Maki complained in 1994 to college officials. Stewart’s civil legal fees as well as his criminal legal representation was covered by the Canadian Medical Protective Association.[27][28][29]


    Critics argue that public money should not be used to defend doctors accused of negligence or other wrongdoing[19] Civil trial lawyers fear that subsidies paid to fund the defence of doctors creates an unequal playing field for patients who hope to pursue a medical negligence case. They argue that the government is funding one side of a legal dispute, but not the other.[20] Former Ontario Chief Justice Charles Dubin commented that: “Although it is in the public interest that any person charged with a criminal offence be properly represented, it seems difficult to justify public expenditures to place doctors on a different footing from other accused persons.” [21]

    One MD was charged in criminal court for sexually assaulting multiple patients, was convicted, then was sued by those victims in civil court. The CMPA funded the doctor’s criminal defence, and later the CMPA funded the doctor’s civil defence. The CMPA, however, will not pay civil damages to a patient assaulted by a doctor even if the assault occurred during a medical exam. This scenario is seen by critics as stacking the deck against victims attempting to seek redress from physicians.[22]

    In 2008, Ontario taxpayers spent $112 million to subsidize the medical malpractice fees paid by doctors. Doctors themselves paid $24 million, which means taxpayers picked up 83 percent of the cost of the malpractice fees. The subsidies paid to the CMPA are part of a “Memorandum of Understanding” between the Ontario Ministry of Health, the Ontario Medical Association, and the Canadian Medical Protective Association. Details of this Memorandum of Understanding between the parties were kept from public view until a court ordered it released following a Freedom of Information request in 2008.[23]

    This is the dickepedia site for the CanMed Protective Assoc.


  7. FAB Libber

    Civil trial lawyers fear that subsidies paid to fund the defence of doctors creates an unequal playing field for patients who hope to pursue a medical negligence case. They argue that the government is funding one side of a legal dispute, but not the other.


  8. jilla

    The reason the “government” is funding the CMPA is our universal health care system. The “government” is the insurer.

    I wonder if that’s the same in the U.K. or other universal systems?


  9. T. Laurel Sulfate, Snarkurchin

    A male gynecologist is like a mechanic who’s never owned a car.
    More like one who has never driven a car, but has read books about it.

    …and who isn’t sure he likes this “internal combustion” nonsense at all unless it gets him laid.

    I am fortunate in that I haven’t had to see a male gyne/women’s healthcare deliverer of any stripe for many years. As far as routine visits go, the last male I saw was the NP at Planned Parenthood who told me I might have gotten bacterial vaginosis from “rough sex.” When he knew my partner could hear, he opined I might have gotten it from “having multiple partners.” (Because anything I told him about my own damned sex life was complete bullshit, duh.)

    As far as Extra Special Procedures go…well, that’s story I’m saving for my standup comedy career. Gevalt.


  10. Pingback: Mary Shelley meets Margaret Attwood | twanzphobic since forever

  11. Pingback: Mary Shelley meets Margaret Attwood | twanzphobic since forever

  12. FAB Libber

    Link from Jilla, regarding mammograms:
    – – – – –
    That is very high, compared to regular x-rays which they are all very careful about.
    1,000µSv = 1mSv, so converting the mammogram figure to µSv for direct comparsion:
    x-ray 20µSv vs mammogram 3,000µSv (3mSv).

    Huge difference. And yet they are encouraging women to have them every few years, particularly post-menopause. Frankly, it could be trying to kill off old women (see FCM’s RWW part 3).

    The other thing about the mammogram is that (I read) that it is painful (I am not surprised), not can it be very good for finding lumps close to the chest wall (my assumption). But, I did read that if something shows up, they send you for an ultrasound for more detail. I have to ask the question, why not skip the painful mammogram and just go straight to the less painful ultrasound?


  13. jilla

    I want to counter something I just read on FCM’s blog. If this is inappropriate here, just delete please. Fab.

    Yttik says: (…) winding up with your fate in the hands of a culture that doesn’t value you, is not inevitable. The vast majority of women actually live out their lives in relatively good health and only a small percentage wind up in nursing homes. I say this because mostly from TV advertising there’s this perception that old women are all helpless, forced to wear depends, needing life alert buzzers, constantly breaking their hips, and “diseased” by old age. In reality many are quite healthy and we’re given a distorted perception of what old age is all about.”

    Yes, it is, unless you have money and family who are active in advocating for you and looking after you. If you are in a situation in subsidized housing for example, you will not be allowed to stay if you break your leg in a fall, become forgetful and your apartment fills with smoke from the toaster. Old women ARE all helpless, forced to wear Depends, needing alert buzzers etc, if they outlive physical independence, do not own their own homes, and have family WHO ARE CAPABLE AND WILLING to help, hire help, buy aids to daily living for you, buy and cook your food etc.

    Those women are usually in their 80s and 90s, but about one-third are in their late 50s to 70s, with CFS, fibromyalgia, MS, heart condtions, Diabetes 2 — which were not disabling and manageable (but not curable) when they were younger. Then ONE catastrophic thing happens: she slips on ice, her insulin controls go out of whack because of increased weight and arthritis meds, her diet is bad, all those things which increase manifold about 10 – 15 years AFTER MENOPAUSE, because they were mitigated by your endogenous hormones. Then the domino effect begins.

    I get really irritated at anything which tries to dismiss old women dealing with age, because this is a kind of invisibilizing, which the young also do. It’s blaming the individual, and holding up those who have not YET fallen victim to this, or are hobbling around and barely managing. It also forces old women to deny they need help, or ask for it, gives their children reason to ignore them, when SOME women are held up as being better, somehow.


  14. jilla

    Incomplete statement: when you burn the toast, and endanger the lives of others who live in that accommodation (but the 48 year old guy who did it because he passed out is joked about) you will not be allowed to come back to your apartment, and will be put in a care centre or “nursing” home whether you want it or not. Your only option will be that a family member will take you in.

    And guess what? It won’t be any young feminist, radical or otherwise. They are trying to earn their living, raise their children alone, pay their tuition, on minimum wage in spite of having a Masters degree in physics or women’s studies. They won’t/can’t. And when you ARE in the care centre or nursing home, it will be RIGHT WING WOMEN who come in with the choir and sing to you, bring you little gifts of scented soap, push you down the hall and read to you.

    And if when in this situation you complain about anything or try to move around and walk, or refuse a medication because it makes you dizzy and fall, you will be drugged into compliance. It’s called “chemical management”. And it’s legal, and neither you nor your family has any right to deny it. And they don’t even need to tell you. And if you do find out and refuse, they will write on your chart that you are unmanageable and “resisting”. That legally gives them the right.

    I wish people who have NO FUCKING idea how this works would shut up.

    I adore Yttik. She’s wrong in this one. No I cannot say substantial things like she can, but I can tell what I KNOW FROM experience of advocating on behalf of seniors. And failing.

    Listen to the podcast and hear the student nurse talk about being ordered to drug an old woman who just wanted to get up out of bed.


  15. FAB Libber

    That is probably the element missing from yttik’s statement, that class (wealth) and family support will lessen the chances of it happening. Even with family, there is no guarantee if they can’t be bothered with you (or they want to get their hands on your dosh, aka ‘asset release’).
    And yes, if a series of unfortunate health problems, a cascade if you will, happens, then a good chance you will end up in some kind of nursing home.

    It is certainly hard to stay in your own home beyond 80-ish, but not impossible. My great aunt (born late 1880s I think) lived almost up to the end in her own flat, but she had her younger sister (my Nana and her husband) living near by. It did get difficult for her after her stroke in her 80s, but she still had reasonable mobility. She was a really lovely person btw, I was very sad when she died.


  16. FAB Libber

    That audio link might be blocked to those outside Canada.
    Fuck I really wish they would stop blocking things by country. The only think not subject to these frequent blocks is porn, so freely available everywhere. But wanna look at or listen to something educational? Oh noes, top fucking secret. /rant


  17. jilla

    AND: Even 20-25 years ago elders had more autonomy. That would have been about when this kind of elder care began, which is now NOT the one isolated horrible incident. It’s “standard of care”.


  18. FAB Libber

    Link (which is the one to the pop-out anyway) still not working for me. Although I do have to manually allow cookies to new sites, even after I allowed this one for session it did not work. So I assume a country-block.


  19. FAB Libber

    Even 20-25 years ago elders had more autonomy. That would have been about when this kind of elder care began
    You are probably right, being older than I am. I recall (which would be just over 25 years ago) that another of the great aunts (sister to the above two as well) was in a home for her last few years. She had lost all/most of her sight by then, but, the main problem was in losing her mental abilities, I guess some dementia, so she could not really live alone. She did die within a fairly short space of time after going into the home. I recall on my last visit to her in the home that she had trouble remembering who I was (or more to the point, whose daughter I was, hard to keep track of great neices and nephews, I always understood that!)


  20. jilla

    Could be your Java too.

    Anyway, what disturbs me most about Yttik’s comment is the comparison that is made, women being blamed (not overtly but… ) and the real untruth of it which comes about because of the invisibilizing of women’s truth. They did something wrong, so they aren’t living independtly and healthily. Or, they’re family didn’t do enough. I assure you, the system does not allow the family.

    I absolutely KNOW Mary can substantiate this. Why we are afraid: it will happen, and women even 10-15 years younger will say it doesn’t happen. I would say it’s the opposite of what Yttik said: I say, it’s the sweet little old lady with the caring family and nurses in very old age which is the lie.

    These illnesses that women get predispose them to long lives of inhuman, uncaring, and abusive treatment in nursing homes. Men die of heart attacks. So sad, dad’s gone. Lucky dad.


  21. jilla

    She was probably being drugged. Virtually all of the incidents of hosptial/care centre “dementia” are caused by unnecessary medications, and the family does not recognize, does not question, or believe the staff when they tell them it’s done for the patient’s health. Actually, it’s done for the nurses and staffs convenience, and will lead quickly to death. It’s another way of turn-over of limited subsidized seniors care.


  22. jilla

    I’m sorry to be so scatterd. As you know, I get emotional on these issues.

    Also, I want to tell my lesbian sisters that they will be in double jeopardy, also women who are single, without daughters or nieces (let’s cut to the chase it won’t be your nephew) or younger women friends.

    And, consider who your caregivers/abusers will be?

    Women. Who are taught from the beginning such self-loathing of themselves, and us. Old, smelly, frail, stupid, not making sense, not making “substantial” comments. Whatever.

    They take the opportunity to abuse. And as I pointed out elsewhere, these centres MUST hire people on community service sentencing, people who are on social services, who are undergoing “medical” care in other aspects. You figure it out.


  23. FAB Libber

    Although Jilla, the entire blame there is not on the female carers, the doctors and administrators are usually male.

    It’s not even safe to be an independent and elderly woman living on your own, with the number of robberies and murders targeting them.

    Never the nephews, and probably not even the sons.
    ETA: Sons are just as likely to bump you off:


  24. jilla

    In nursing homes and care centres, it’s the nurses who make the decisions. The doctors get phoned and told Ms. “X” is agitated and troubling other patients (those are the words they have to use). Dr. calls the pharmacy and prescribes, for a patient he or she (the majority of GPs are women) never has seen. They wouldn’t be paid to make a visit, even if they were motivated to, in either universal or private systems.


  25. Mary Sunshine

    ((( Jilla ))) ((( Jilla ))) ((( Jilla )))


    I’m watching myself for the first signs of dementia, blindness, and loss of mobility.

    At that point, I’m WalkingToTheEndOfTheWorld.

    I really hate the planetary inhabitants who are of the human-genome persuasion. I refuse to have any of them around me when I die.

    Also I hate all the medical and pharmaceutical machinery of this world, and I’ll be walking away from all of it while I can still walk.


  26. FAB Libber

    Also I hate all the medical and pharmaceutical machinery of this world, and I’ll be walking away from all of it while I can still walk.

    That is my plan too, to end it when I still can. Have had that plan since my early 40s!
    Neither does my mother want to end up that way, so I suppose I would be helping her in that respect when the time comes.


  27. jilla

    It all sounds so simple. I’ve contemplated on this myself, and avowed. But there’s one teeny question:

    Do you think those women in these places didn’t also rail? Were they not strong, and healthy farmers, fishers, women whose days were filled with physical labour from dusk to dawn, if not on the land or water, in their homes, or both, all day, every day?

    Do you think for a minute they did not also vow never to be incapacitated? They are dismissed. It becomes an individual issue, for even radical feminists who understand that reproductive health, pron etc is NOT a choice. Why is it all about “choice” when the women is over 50? And fat?

    I’m askin’. Not accusing.


  28. jilla

    So many ways of invisiblizing and dismissing. Calling someone “paranoid” that’s a good one too.

    Because it’s covered up, put onto individual responsibility, blamed on the family (daughter, niece) for not doing X.

    It’s the patriarchal system, which as Andrea Dworkin pointed out, is punishing women for growing useless, but not dying when they’ve passed their stale-by-date.


  29. Mary Sunshine

    It all sounds so simple. I’ve contemplated on this myself, and avowed. But there’s one teeny question:

    Do you think those women in these places didn’t also rail? Were they not strong, and healthy farmers, fishers, women whose days were filled with physical labour from dusk to dawn, if not on the land or water, in their homes, or both, all day, every day?


    Do you think for a minute they did not also vow never to be incapacitated?

    Brilliant, Jilla.

    This is what freaks me out. We’re forced to take a best guess at what point it is that we refuse to live any further. A truly natural end is denied to us. I visualize and spellcast on this a lot. Remember when we were 11 or 12 , and we did the running broad jump in the playgound? That.


  30. Pingback: Elderly women, how did they get there? | twanzphobic since forever

  31. FAB Libber

    I have actually started an “elderly women” thread, seeings this topic has taken off, and is also one rarely discussed as to the realities.


  32. jilla

    For everyone, do your homework. It’s not foolproof, but pares it down a bit. If you MUST see a physician:

    College of Physicians and Surgeons (provincial):which will tell you where they got their medical degree and if they’ve ever been disciplined, but NOT if there have been complaints. Every province has a college.

    Medical boards U.S. (example, California.). It’s not mandatory they be a member.
    Ask your doctor’s nurse for his license number.


  33. jilla

    I have spent many an entertaining morning there. Reading, and inputting. 🙂

    Just stick to the facts and there’s not a damn thing they can do. Then, when you number rate, give the lowest, and it’s reflected in their overall score.


  34. jilla

    Apparently using only males (both rodent and human) has long been the practice for testing drugs and assessing environmental hazards as well as studying diseases. And the practice hasn’t changed sufficiently despite years of warnings about it.

    MALE RODENTS USED TO STUDY DISEASES THAT AFFECT MAINLY WOMEN A battle of the sexes is incubating in North American medical research labs over the role of the lowly rodent. More than 90 per cent of research in the lab is still being done using male rats and mice, even in the study of diseases such as pain and dementia, which disproportionately affect women, a University of California expert on stress and memory said Monday. And there are growing fears – particularly among young female researchers – that the love affair with male rodents may actually hamper efforts to tackle diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, which affect women far more than men. “The question – what about the females? – is looming over all of neuroscience and biomedical science right now,” said Larry Cahill of the University of California, Irvine… Cahill has found a supporter for his cause in researchers such as McGill University pain expert Jeffrey Mogil. “I’m amazed by it. It’s more than stupid – it’s borderline unethical,” said Mogil in a telephone interview from Montreal. “We researchers have a duty … we’re using public funds, the public is entrusting us to try to come up with treatments and cures for diseases that affect men and women.”
    Toronto Star (front page)–research-controversy-male-mice-used-to-study-diseases-that-affect-women


  35. FAB Libber

    Thanks for that Jilla. It is excellent, a recommended read.

    Some highlights:
    Too many researchers are still cutting out female rodents — or killing them altogether — because of the outdated notion that their “pesky estrogen” will throw off the final research results, Cahill told a Toronto conference on emotion and the brain.
    But countless research has shown sex is critical — that stress affects women differently than men, that a baby Aspirin may help fight off heart attacks in men but does nothing in women, that neurons die off differently in women’s brains, which may play a key role in the soaring rates of dementia and Alzheimer’s around the world.
    For instance, red-headed women are more sensitive to certain pain killers, but red-headed men are not.


  36. jilla

    Some stories may be of interest, esp the first which has whoo! hoo! STATS:

    Int Perspect Sex Reprod Health. 2011 Mar;37(1):24-29.
    Injected with Controversy: Sales and Administration of Injectable Contraceptives in Uganda.
    Stanback J, Otterness C, Bekiita M, Nakayiza O, Mbonye AK.

    Deputy Director Family Health International, Durham, NC, USA,
    CONTEXT: Informal drug shops are the first line of health care in many poor countries. In Uganda, these facilities commonly sell and administer the injectable contraceptive depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA), even though they are prohibited by law from selling any injectable drugs. It is important to understand drug shop operators’ current practices and their potential to provide DMPA to hard-to-reach populations.
    METHODS: Between November 2007 and January 2008, 157 drug shops were identified in three rural districts of Uganda, and the operators of the 124 facilities that sold DMPA were surveyed. Data were analyzed with descriptive methods.

    RESULTS: Only 35% of operators reported that the facility in which they worked was a licensed drug shop and another 9% reported that the facility was a private clinic; all claimed to have some nursing, midwifery, or other health or medical qualification. Ninety-six percent administered DMPA in the shop. Operators gave a mean of 10 injections (including three of DMPA) per week. Forty-three percent of those who administered DMPA reported disposing of used syringes in sharps containers; in the previous 12 months, 24% had had a needle-stick injury and 17% had had a patient with an injection-related abscess. Eleven percent said they had ever reused a disposable syringe. Overall, contraceptive knowledge was low, and attitudes toward family planning reflected common traditional biases.

    CONCLUSION: Provision of DMPA is common in rural drug shops, but needs to be made safer. Absent stronger regulation and accreditation, drug shop operators can be trained as community-based providers to help meet the extensive unmet demand for family planning in rural areas.

    Fair Use

    Jury: Philly docs failed to report dangerous peer
    By KATHY MATHESON, Associated Press – 1 hr 27 mins ago

    PHILADELPHIA – Women went to Dr. Kermit Gosnell to end their pregnancies. Many came away with life-threatening infections and punctured organs; some still had fetal parts inside them when they arrived at nearby hospitals in dire need of emergency care.

    Doctors at the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which operates two hospitals within a mile of Gosnell’s squalid abortion clinic in West Philadelphia, saw at least six of these patients — two of whom died. But they largely failed in their legal and ethical duties to report their peer’s incompetence, according to a grand jury report.

    “We are very troubled that almost all of the doctors who treated these women routinely failed to report a fellow physician who was so obviously endangering his patients,” wrote the Philadelphia grand jurors, who recommended a slew of charges against Gosnell and his staff in January.

    The health system — in apparent contradiction of the grand jury report — released a statement saying that it had “provided reports to the authorities regarding patients of Dr. Gosnell who sought additional care at our hospitals” starting in 1999.

    But the system’s attorneys could only produce a single report for the grand jury. That involved 22-year-old Semika Shaw, who died at the university hospital of internal bleeding and sepsis after a botched abortion in 2000. Gosnell’s insurers ultimately paid out a $900,000 settlement in that case.

    Health system spokeswoman Susan Phillips later clarified the statement, saying “we have staff who specifically recall making oral reports” to state officials about Gosnell.

    “Unfortunately, we have not been able to find additional written reports from these past years,” she wrote in an email.

    A Philadelphia doctor and suburban medical examiner who did blow the whistle said they never heard back from state officials, whose repeated lapses helped Gosnell to operate unchecked for years.

    Prosecutors described Gosnell’s clinic as “a house of horrors,” where viable babies were killed with scissors, fetal remains were kept in jars and freezers, and dirty medical equipment was operated by unlicensed, often untrained and unsupervised employees. Gosnell himself was never certified in obstetrics and gynecology, only family practice.

    Gosnell, 70, is jailed without bail and charged with eight counts of murder in the deaths of one patient and seven viable babies. Authorities say he also routinely maimed his clients, sometimes leaving them sterile and near death. He is due in court Wednesday for a formal arraignment.

    The grand jury had scathing criticism for Pennsylvania’s health and medical regulators for taking no action against Gosnell, despite reports that he was harming patients. But the panel also said too many local physicians had shirked their professional and legal responsibilities to report him and thus protect the lives of future clinic patients.

    Pennsylvania law requires doctors to report abortion complications to the state Health Department. And the American Medical Association says “physicians have an ethical obligation to report impaired, incompetent and unethical colleagues.”

    But there were apparently no reports filed after Gosnell patient Marie Smith, 20, arrived at Penn Presbyterian Hospital in 1999, unconscious with an infection and fetal parts still inside her. Nor when Dana Haynes went to the emergency room at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in 2006 with a perforated cervix, uterus and bowel, also with fetal parts inside. Both have spoken publicly about their cases.

    And no reports were made after Karnamaya Mongar died at the university hospital in 2009 after Gosnell’s unqualified staff allegedly gave her too much anesthesia, according to the grand jury. Gosnell is charged in Mongar’s death.

    Authorities say they know of at least two other Gosnell patients whose treatment at the university hospital went unreported.

    These five cases, the grand jury alleged, are “just the tip of the iceberg.” Latosha Lewis, a Gosnell employee, testified that emergency room staff at the university hospital told her they treated many Gosnell patients, the report said.

    Penn’s doctors had a moral duty to report but were likely discouraged by the inadequate disciplinary system, said Arthur Caplan, director of the university’s Center for Bioethics.

    “People in medicine don’t see much happening to doctors who get reported,” Caplan said. “You’ll get more reporting if you fix this broken regulatory system. The two will go hand in hand.”

    The Pennsylvania Health Department — one of the agencies criticized by the grand jury — generally cannot confirm or deny receipt of abortion complication reports due to privacy issues, agency spokeswoman Holli Senior said. However, such reports would have been released to the grand jury for a criminal probe, she said.

    Doctors who fail to file reports within 30 days of treating abortion complications are guilty of “unprofessional conduct” and could have their licenses suspended or revoked by the state Board of Medicine, according to the statute.

    The State Department, which oversees the medical board, could not say if Penn doctors would be disciplined based on the grand jury report, spokeswoman Larissa Bedrick said. But she noted that prosecutions of years-old allegations are limited by lost records, poor memories and unavailable witnesses.

    The State Department and the Board of Medicine were also blasted by the grand jury for failure to investigate or take action against Gosnell.

    Reluctance to report a fellow doctor is not unusual, said Craig Klugman, a medical ethicist at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

    Physicians who report peers for misconduct can jeopardize their own careers as well as those of the alleged offenders. They face possible retaliation, stressful legal proceedings and damaged relationships with other co-workers who may now fear they are being watched, Klugman said.

    “We are encouraged to be whistleblowers, but whistleblowers never prosper,” said Klugman, assistant director of the Center for Medical Humanities & Ethics. “There are a lot of personal sacrifices that often go along with it.”

    Two physicians did flag Gosnell’s conduct. Dr. Donald Schwarz operated a pediatrics practice in West Philadelphia and referred some of his patients to Gosnell — until they started coming back to him with the same sexually transmitted parasite, trichomoniasis.

    Schwarz, then also head of adolescent services at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, stopped referrals and hand-delivered a complaint to state secretary of health offices around 1996-97.

    He never heard back. And there was no letter on file when the grand jury subpoenaed all Gosnell-related complaints. Schwarz told The Associated Press he did not retain a copy of the letter.

    Schwarz said he didn’t hesitate to report Gosnell once he connected the dots. But it was only after a third patient came in with the parasite and a tie to Gosnell that he came to grips with the idea that another doctor had caused his patients harm.

    “It took me three times,” Schwarz told the AP. “I could not believe that someone who was doing the abortion process wouldn’t use clean and sterile equipment.”

    Schwarz became the city’s health commissioner in 2008. Though many clinic issues were outside his jurisdiction — they fell to the state — he told the grand jury of his agency’s missed opportunities to stop Gosnell.

    A city health employee reported on the clinic’s filthy childhood vaccination operation in 2008, resulting in Gosnell being suspended from the vaccine program. The report was never shared with other divisions. Schwarz has pledged better staff coordination and education.

    Dr. Frederic Hellman, medical examiner for Delaware County in the Philadelphia suburbs, also tried to alert state authorities about Gosnell after discovering what he suspected was a mishandled and illegal late-term abortion in 2007.

    An ailing Gosnell patient ended up at a Chester hospital, where she delivered a stillborn fetus that Hellman estimated to be 30 weeks old — far beyond the state’s 24-week limit for abortion.

    Again, the state took no action on Hellman’s report. He declined comment to the AP because of Gosnell’s pending trial.

    The grand jurors acknowledged that the responsibility for reporting abortion complications can get messy in busy emergency rooms where more than one doctor might treat a patient.

    But in that case, the report said, hospitals should have a policy addressing the issue. One Penn doctor told the panel that such a procedure is now in place.

    A hospital attorney also testified that a memo went out after Shaw’s death in 2000 to remind doctors of the law; another memo went out last fall, just prior to the first physician’s appearance before the grand jury.

    Still, the egregious nature of the women’s injuries should have spurred some kind of peer review or reporting mechanism, said Laurence McCullough, a professor and historian of medical ethics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

    “Physicians have a duty to protect patients from other physicians who are not competent,” McCullough said. “That’s been understood for centuries.”

    From list: Mothers Against Medical Error | 155 S Bull St. | Columbia, SC 29205


  37. FAB Libber

    Wrist slap:
    Berkshire dominatrix sex botox doctor suspended for 12 months

    A botox doctor who engaged in sexual activity with a dominatrix at his Berkshire clinic has been suspended for 12 months.

    Dr Tony Walker, 53, escaped being struck off as a disciplinary panel ruled he “did not pose a significant risk of repeating the behaviour”.

    Patient Marion Burton said Dr Walker performed a sexual act as she lay on the treatment table in 2008.

    The doctor, from Kings Norton, Birmingham, had denied the claim.

    The General Medical Council panel said it was not in the public interest to permanently deprive patients of the “valuable” services of an “otherwise competent doctor”.

    Dr Walker said it was Mrs Burton who performed the act on him and encouraged him to perform a sex act on her.

    He denied sexual activity took place at the clinic in Maidenhead in June 2008, but accepts it did in two later consultations.
    ‘Crossed boundary’

    Dr Walker told the General Medical Council panel, sitting in Manchester, that it was Mrs Burton who had seduced him while she was “dressed like a prostitute”.

    Mrs Burton, 51, known as Mistress J in her former occupation, secretly recorded him on their last consultation at the surgery because she said she wanted to expose him to the authorities.

    In September 2009 she was cleared by a jury of blackmailing the private cosmetic surgeon by allegedly demanding £20,000 after obtaining the covert footage.

    Her husband Terry Burton pleaded guilty to blackmailing Dr Walker and was jailed for three-and-a-half years in 2009.

    The panel was also told Dr Walker had a conviction in 2008 for assaulting his wife Yvonne in a row about their Great Dane dog.

    His fitness to practise was impaired because of his misconduct with Mrs Burton and his assault conviction, the panel found.

    In its findings, the fitness to practise panel said: “You were willing to be over-familiar with Patient MB (Mrs Burton), you proactively crossed the boundary of the doctor/patient relationship and engaged in sexual activities.”

    But it praised him for attending a domestic abuse help programme where he had received “positive reports”.

    Mrs Burton told the panel that Dr Walker never knew about her job as a dominatrix in which she earned up to £5,000 a month, with local politicians, bankers, rugby players and bricklayers said to be among her clients.


  38. jilla

    Cardiologist eviscerates his two children.

    Was distraught because his wife from whom he had separated had a lover.

    By Sue Montgomery, The Gazette April 20, 2011 12:02 PM

    Dr. Guy Turcotte has been charged with first degree murder in the deaths of his two children. Turcotte appears to have tried to kill himself with a drug overdose and is in the intensive care unit of a hospital in Montreal. Turcotteís two children, Oliver and his sister, Anne-Sophie Turcotte, 3 were found dead in his house in Piedmont in 2009.

    MONTREAL – “I know what I’ve done,” Guy Turcotte told a paramedic who arrived at his Piedmont home to discover the eviscerated bodies of the cardiologist’s two young children.

    Bertrand Rochon told Quebec Superior Court Wednesday that he and his partner cried for a long time after dropping Turcotte at the hospital on Feb. 21, 2009.

    “I have children too and situations like that are very difficult,” he said.

    In the ambulance on the way to the hospital, Turcotte told Rochon, “Tell my wife I love her” and “I did it this morning,” the paramedic testified at Turcotte’s first-degree murder trial.

    Both the Crown and defence admit that Turcotte killed Olivier, 5, and Anne-Sophie, 3, in February, 2009, but what the jury will have to decide is whether he intended to kill them.

    The seven-woman, five-man jury has already heard that Turcotte was distraught that his wife, Isabelle Gaston, had a lover. Turcotte had move out of the family’s Prévost home just weeks before the murder.

    Read more:


  39. FAB Libber

    but what the jury will have to decide is whether he intended to kill them

    umm, shouldn’t a medical person actually KNOW that evisceration is fatal???


  40. Sargasso Sea

    Maybe he was just looking for his keys.

    My mom one time had to rip some of my guts out to find hers!!1! It could happen to anybody. rly.



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