Getting Doctors to Fall In Line

Recently, a local oncologist, who was to retire in six months, was canned by the hospital.  I have no idea why and there are two responses given by the hospital.  The first stated that he had a pattern of behavior that “resulted in a work environment for our team members that was both hostile and unsafe. When given the opportunity, Dr. Oldham did not deny the allegations made against him.”  This was later changed to say that the doctor “over the years has provided high-quality healthcare to his patients. This is not about the level of care he has provided, and we have no knowledge that any harm or bad outcomes came as a result of his behaviors.”  Well, that’s weird.

The doctor responded:

In a phone interview Tuesday night, Oldham declined to comment on the situation but did take a moment to defend himself. “The letter implied that I’m a danger to patient care … which is an absolute falsehood,” Oldham said. As far as the allegations he is a danger to staff, he said he never threatened or touched anyone or made a direct comment to anyone. “I think there’s some people there that need to find other work, and I’ve said that publicly and in many forms, which is where this is coming from,” he said.

He then wrote a letter to his former staff:

“Greetings from my early retirement, which I am enjoying very much,” Oldham wrote. “Many of you are wondering what happened, and put simply, my dissenting voice has been silenced. The suggestion that I was physically threatening to anyone is both false and ludicrous. The suggestion that I have ever endangered patient care or safety in any way is also false and absurd. My goals have always been the best patient care possible, and loyalty to and protection of you, our staff,” he said.

The article goes on to say he regrets his termination has unnecessarily involved the staff and alleges the hospital has forgotten the importance of free speech and “genuine, rather than feigned collaboration.”

The newspaper did some investigation and found no board or patient complaints.  There are no staff complaints.  No harassment complaints.  It just looks like the doctor pissed the wrong people off by being outspoken. They responded with the famous “disruptive physician” bit. It’s an old con that works well for so many hospitals.  They pull it out of their evil bag of tricks whenever they need it.

In a weird coincidence, I was sent this by a reader of this blog.  Let me point out that this is from another hospital in another state:

I was in a hospital elevator a few days ago. I was not on staff. I wore civies. A couple of guys got on. He said “I like Howard, He knows how to control the doctors..” The second said, “He fired one, and the others fell in line.” They got off the next floor.

Do you see how hospital administrators have the same mindset no matter where they are?  The goal is to control doctors. Get them to fall in line. Physicians are pawns that can easily be replaced.

Once again I will say that the wrong people are in charge of our healthcare system.  The marriage between a doctor and a hospital (when they are employed by them) is an unholy one.  The losers end up being not only the physicians but the patients as well.

The more we share these types of stories the more we expose hospital administrators for who they are.  If you have similar stories please send them my way.

(Editor’s note: I have the option to retract this if for some reason there are some inappropriate harassment claims that come out in the future. That has not happened so far.)

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Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  3 comments for “Getting Doctors to Fall In Line

  1. mamadoc
    December 14, 2017 at 10:35 pm

    Yep, sounds about right. When did it get to the point that these people, who would not have a job if it wasn’t for doctors, got to “control” them? My FP group was shouldered out of the hospital after 30 years because we were too hard to control. However, I am so happy we are out of there.

  2. Steve O'
    December 12, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    I notice – “A couple of guys got on. He said “I like Howard, He knows how to control the doctors..” The second said, “He fired one, and the others fell in line.” They got off the next floor.
    Who cares among Admin if they create a permanent black mark on the doctor’s record impairing her/his employability and reputation? What if they join the ranks of the silent many who have committed suicide?
    If you off yourself on a slow day at the office, a memorial email from the vice-president might be circulated.
    Can misery be created and bureaucratized? Easily. One must have the mind-set for it. The capacity for cruelty, like Howard above, is the pilot flame that starts the whole process.
    Read perhaps ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH, by Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Their camps fit 2,525,146 inmates in squalid misery, and they were designed carefully to do so, a vital organ of state control. Someone snitches you off? You are powerless, whether anonymous accusers assert “a work environment for our team members that was both hostile and unsafe,” or showing in the Siberian camps “a Soviet Navy captain to whom a British admiral sent a Christmas present.” It doesn’t matter how insubstantial the “crime” is, or how ridiculous the implication is. In fact, the more ridiculous the better, if you want them to fall in line!
    There are only 209,000 practicing primary care physicians in the United States who need firmer and firmer “guidance” to produce what the State needs. It is not helpful if they are innovative or think independently. Outside the box? Shut up, brother, or you will be inside the box!
    The methodology of control has been tested time and again. It is here, in a kinder, gentler guise – unless you are the poor fellow discussed above who let stress get to him, and…. condolences to his family.

  3. Richard Willner
    December 12, 2017 at 11:43 am

    I founded and an the Executive Director of The Center for Peer Review Justice. Over the last 17 years, I have seen this abuse of physicians and surgeons many many times. The Health Care Quality Improvement Act of 1986, a Federal Law, followed by the case laws, removes the substantive or factual due process rights ( “due process rights”) from physicians ( MDs, DOs, ) allowing only procedural due process rights, a Hearing, to remain. This Hearing is done in front of the bastards who did the doctor in.

    Traditionally, the Courts will not give the physician or surgeon justice.

    Don’t be the last to understand this little known law. and

    Richard Willner
    New Orleans

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