Head Rolling Doc

A doctor in Georgia allegedly threatened to “slit” her employees’ throats and has been charged with making terroristic threats. Call me crazy but that’s not part of the LEAN management system or is it?   Marian Antoinette Patterson, a family practice doctor, even told one worker she was going to “cut her head off and roll it down the hallway,” and that she’d call the employee’s children to show them. Ouch. Is that the new Six Sigma or is this?

Sheriff Ashley Paulk called Patterson’s situation “unfortunate,” and blamed issues happening in her life for her actions.

“It’s unfortunate, there’s some factors in her life that brought about some emotional problems I feel like,” Sheriff Ashley Paulk told WALB. “I hope this is something she can put behind her, because she has a lot of patients, a lot of people that trust her as their doctor, and it’s just one of those things that I hope she can work through.”

Well, not good enough.  Patterson’s medical license was temporarily suspended in March as the board received allegations that Patterson had been under the influence at the office several times.  Too bad for her family and her patients that need her. And who cares if those allegations could possibly be false since I am sure they were provided by the same staff that does not get along with Dr. Patterson?  Does a doc just go nuts for no reason or maybe, just maybe, the staff may have provoked her over and over again for whatever reason.  I am playing devil’s advocate here since I don’t know the answer but she is presumed guilty and that’s a shame. And now the board now needs to destroy her reputation.

As my friend Dr. Michael Ciampi sarcastically quipped, “This all could have been avoided if she had gone to the AAFP Physician Wellness Conference and done some yoga…”.

You are correct, Dr. Ciampi, it really is that simple (tongue firmly in cheek)




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] 

  14 comments for “Head Rolling Doc

  1. kurt
    May 9, 2018 at 5:03 pm

    The only way the AAFP is going to get the message is if everyone stops paying dues and walks away.
    No more money from me.

    • Sir Lance-a-lot
      May 9, 2018 at 6:26 pm

      That’s what I did ten years ago.

      What, exactly, do they actually do for me? Fuck ’em.

  2. RSW
    May 7, 2018 at 11:22 am

    This poor physician’s mistake was not consulting the AAFP’s new “Well Being Planner,” where she would have learned that burnout can be cured by committing to goals such as “Learning two new things about my EHR” or “Joining the Family Physician Advocacy Network and completing two advocacy actions.”

    Voila – burnout and stress eliminated.

    Honestly, is humanly possible for anyone to be as mind-numbingly stupid as the AAFP leadership?

    • Sir Hakum of Hugo
      May 7, 2018 at 12:36 pm

      The federal government wins by a nose. At least half the AAFP leadership were practicing physicians before they jointed the dark side.

  3. Sir Hakum of Hugo
    May 7, 2018 at 9:42 am

    I’ve been waiting for a couple of weeks for this story to drop on Authentic Medicine.

    I have some familiarity with this situation, as I practice in this region. By most accounts, including a colleague who has been her patient for many years years, she has been a kind, caring, and excellent physician. She is also a solo family practitioner, who previously did obstetrics.

    In regards the sheriff’s comments (he is an exemplary law enforcement officer for whom I have voted and for whom I have a great deal of respect), if you Google the physician’s name, you will find some information regarding past issues a decade past.

    We need to keep her in our thoughts and prayers, and allow the legal process to progress to a natural conclusion. This is a physician in need of help and support.

    Her career of a quarter century is over.

    Other professions, including teachers, lawyers, politicians, judges, teachers, nurses, athletes and ditch-diggers…..they have a much less arduous path to redemption. Plead to a lesser charge, community service, probation, continuing education, public mea culpa, counseling, pay a fine, and presto….back in the saddle again.

    Her career is over.

    One side of the story (and I am not insinuating the other side of the story exonerates or justifies her reported actions) has been told and the planet Earth has convicted her as judge, jury, and willing executioner.

    Her career is over.

    No matter the truth or her work for redemption will save her.

    Her career is over.

    This is a cautionary tale to be certain. The pressure she felt (balancing work, family, and well-being) is shared by each of us (and not just physicians). However, most other professions do not suffer the overwhelming and overbearing burden that physicians endure. These have been spoken of many times before in this blog. Each of us has at some time, somewhere, journeyed through or near that dark place this physician discovered.

    Doctors have nowhere to go for help. If impairment or depression is reported, you have taken a called third strike from a single pitch. Unemployable, uninsurable, undesirable with horrible Yelp or internet reviews. A scarlet letter is burned upon our forehead.

    Your career is over.

    I pray this ends well for this physician. It could happen to any of us.

    • Pat
      May 7, 2018 at 2:48 pm

      Fair comments, and good post. I’ve done my share of laughing at her – no apologies! – but yeah, this could be a lot of us. The story underscores what an incredibly unhealthy, and often unhappy career choice this truly is, and for too many of us, a one-way, no exits road. Wish I had figured it out sooner. Hope her student loans are paid, and she walks to the lake’s edge, hurls her stethoscope out into the water, and never looks back.

  4. Ben
    May 5, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    I just can’t stop thinking if her name has something to do with the type of guillotine threats she was accused of making.

    • Sir Hakum of Hugo
      May 7, 2018 at 10:24 am

      Be nice.

  5. Ellen Kagan
    May 5, 2018 at 12:48 pm

    Why isn’t this woman indicted? There is no excuse for this. I feel sorry for her patients. Who knows how she acts with them?

    • Sir Hakum of Hugo
      May 7, 2018 at 10:09 am

      The matter has been investigated, she has been charged, she has been released on bail. She is not practicing (her license has been suspended). The legal process in ongoing, as it should.

      This isn’t a one hour television show.

      Cast stones often?

      • RSW
        May 7, 2018 at 4:09 pm

        But you miss the excellent point Ms. Kagen is making:

        This story is about a doctor, so the appropriate course of action is end her career, destroy her life, imprison her, and then investigate the circumstances. An M.D. deserves no less.

    • Sir Lance-a-lot
      May 7, 2018 at 10:29 am

      Frankly, I hadn’t realized that yelling at people was a crime.

      Regardless, my response to you is:

      There but for the Grace of God…

  6. Sir Lance-a-lot
    May 5, 2018 at 8:43 am

    When one PA had this pop up on her phone last week, everyone at the office agreed that we saw nothing unusual about this doctor’s behavior, and, in fact, all of us agreed we’d like to join her.

    The feelings that led her to her newsworthy tirade are feelings that are common to everyone working in medicine these days, and that ain’t a real good prognostic indicator for the profession.

  7. Pat
    May 5, 2018 at 6:07 am

    This never would have happened in a PCMH.* (*Patient-Centered Medical Home. Also consult the AAFP for more news on this exciting and healing innovation).

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