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Social Media Fair Play

JustADoc commented about a Yahoo News story concerning an obstetrician who posted a mini-rant on Facebook about one of her patients always being late. The obstetrician’s post said

“I have a patient who has chosen to either no-show or be late (sometimes hours) for all of her prenatal visits, ultrasounds, and NSTs. She is now 3 hours late for her induction. May I show up late to her delivery?”

After the post became widely distributed, some people called for the doctor to be fired. Others defended her as a good physician.

The hospital assured all their concerned patients that the hospital would “reinforce their high employee standards.”

The Yahoo news story created a fake retort from the obstetrician’s hospital (I looked up the hospital’s Facebook page to make sure it was a fake retort) saying

Mercy Hospital St. Louis Facebook

When I look back at my post last week about State Medical Board investigations for what are deemed to be inappropriate online posts, I started thinking.

If people agree that doctors’ livelihoods and the money and time they spent on their medical educations should be threatened because of a potentially offensive statement, shouldn’t that be the standard for everyone else as well?

An offensive statement is made by a hospital, investigate the administrative staff. Maybe fire them and blackball them from further jobs in hospital administration.
Politicians make an offensive statement, investigate them, too. Maybe they get fired and prevented from working as a politician. Same for CEOs, federal workers, journalists, editors, public employees, judges, lawyers … everybody.
Anyone receiving government assistance gets the same treatment. Make any offensive statements and you get investigated. If the statements are offensive enough, you’re on your own. You are no longer eligible for government assistance.

Sound outrageous?

I agree … in all cases.


  1. Can we reflect for a moment on the irony of a physician complaining of having to wait for a patient?

    • Except that physicians have a time frame they try to work within and are busy trying to help all of their patients and some of those appointments/emergencies just don’t fit into a perfectly streamlined schedule.

      • A physician complaining about a patient being late is still ironic. I think that most patients recognize the unpredictability of physician schedules. As a patient, I am not going to complain to the office about a physician being late. However, if I am waiting for 3-4 hours and I have somewhere else to be, or if I have an emergency myself with my family, I may need to reschedule the appointment for another time. And if I am waiting an hour or so and it cuts into my work or other commitments, I understand and I don’t fault the physician in the least, but it’s still annoying and an inconvenience.

      • I do appreciate the irony.

        I’ve just seen patients and families not be understanding when there were delays so I went on defense …not that anyone needs me too. :)

    • Three hours late though? That’s pretty ridiculous.

  2. “sorry, the doctor passed your appointment. you must reschedule”

    stop seeing her late. she doesn’t like it, she’ll go to another office and won’t be your problems any longer.

  3. I don’t know …maybe a drone attack would be in order?

    • If a patient is more than 30 min late, without calling, we reschedule the appointment. Just imagine what chaos it would be if everyone decided to “just show-up” when they wanted. The “schedule would be “non-existent”. The majority of patients understand and this should really be a nonissue for the patient, office staff and physicians. Boundaries people!
      In regard to FB, since our hospital is in such a small rural community, EVERYONE would know who the physician was referring too. So, I’m not sure that would be appropriate either. I believe we as healthcare providers should be aware of our patients and their time schedules as well. Remember, everyone has a choice of who they see. They may have to drive a little further than they would or have to pay a little more, but they always have a choice of who treats them. Respect for the physicians’ time and respect for the patients time is a must. Much more easily said than done when we have patients with complicated issues, new patients or those that have a hundred questions. We should just give it our best shot.
      Ok…..let the backfire begin…. :-o

      • dilaudid distributor

        Interesting you just described the ED environment with a non-existent schedule and patients with increasingly complicated issues, all of them new with a hundred questions.

        You only left out picking what they want a’ la carte style. I will take a mri, dilaudid 4mg with a phenergan back, and a sandwich now please. Oh by the way, please fix their problems at a rate of at least 2 an hour with EMR thrown in the mix.

  4. First of all, the comment was NOT inappropriate, but the use of social media was totally inappropriate. The young doc (old docs don’t use it) needs to realize that Facebook and its look-alikes are for entertainment for the ‘look-at-me’ generations. Don’t use it for business.

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