Saturday, July 08, 2006

Rudeness from Doctor OK?

Headline from Comcast News:

CONCORD, N.H. - A judge has ordered the state Board of Medicine to stop disciplinary proceedings against a doctor accused of telling a patient she was so obese she might only be attractive to black men and advising another to shoot herself following brain surgery.

Umm...excuse me? Could this be real? Apparently, yes. Here's a little more:

"If you look at the polling, nobody likes fat women," he said last year. "Is it right? No. Is it sensible? No. Is it true? Yeah ... Black guys are the only group that don't mind that. Is that racist to say that?"

A 2001 complaint accused Bennett of telling a woman recovering from brain surgery to buy a pistol and shoot herself to end her suffering. The doctor was also accused of speaking harshly to a woman about how her son might have contracted hepatitis, according to the ruling.

Can someone please explain to me how this is considered acceptable behavior from a physician?
How do you trust someone to care for you who speaks to you in this manner? How does a hospital allow someone who is so callous towards his patients practice there?

A little more:

"The question now is: Will the board waste more of your and my tax dollars and appeal this, or accept done as done?" he said in a telephone interview.

Fitzgerald also ruled that state and American Medical Association requirements to treat patients with "compassion and respect for human dignity and rights" are so vague they are unconstitutional. Bennett probably would have won his challenges before the board, the judge said.

Bennett said he planned to sue everyone involved for "malicious prosecution."

"I am not inclined to be forgiving about it," he said. "It's been devastating and infuriating."

No, what's devastating and infuriating is that this man is being allowed to get away with what could amount to misogyny and bigotry with absolutely no censure, and that patients have suffered at his hand, or, rather his mouth. Like it or not, patients hold their doctors in high esteem, and what they say can be either uplifting or devastating, when not ignored altogether, of course. Doctors hold a position of authority, and must accept certain responsibilities as a result. One of those responsibilities, I believe, is to not try to hurt their patients. "First, do no harm..."

Words can hurt. Words can ruin. Words can devastate. Words can have the opposite effect of what's intended. The Greek word "sarcasm" means "to tear the flesh", indicating how powerful words can be. This Dr. Bennett has clearly torn some flesh with his statements, and, in my opinion, that qualifies as doing harm.

Oh, and for the record? It's not just black men who like fat women, Doc. And there are a lot who do. Ask my hubby.


Dream Mom said...

I am speechless!

Cathy said...

Amen, to all you just said wip...I first read about this at kevin md site. But he left out the part about the good doc. telling someone to take a gun and shoot themself. he also didn't mention the racial parts..

I can't even imagine a doctor getting away with talking like this. Its crazy.

Thank you for posting this!

Genevieve said...

I imagine we all know how cruel words (even when they are thoughtlessly rather than deliberately spoken) can stick with you for a lifetime. Even after you get the incident filed away under the correct category in your mind ("Needlessly Hurtful and Probably False Comments Made By Jerks"), they're still in the back of your mind available for replay. I definitely think the suggestion that the woman recovering from brain cancer surgery should shoot herself to end her misery was deserving of discipline. The other incidents are definitely insensitive to an extreme, but at least he wasn't suggesting they commit suicide.

Capriquarian Girl said...

I read about this guy and was horrified. Although it wasn't too surprising as most of my experiences with doctors have not been very positive. Still, that is no excuse. His comments and behavior were just plain unacceptable.

neuroticillinifan said...

It is truly horrifying to hear of anyone speaking this way, but somehow I guess I expect well-educated professionals particularly to be better than that. What an ass!

BTW, Hubs is also a great example that non-black men love fat women.


RunAwayImagination said...

First, let it be known that I LOVE BIG WOMEN! And the last time I looked in the mirror I was 100% Caucasian.

Second, this sicko doesn't need to be treating patients; he needs treatment himself. Maybe ROUGH treatment, and I wouldn't mind landing a punch of my own.

But no, on second thought you don't fight fire with fire.

I agree with Genevieve - this idiot's comments deserve to be ignored. Words such as his can operate like a cancer of the soul, replicating themselves over and over again in the mind and causing more and more harm.