Doctors Gone Mild by Pat Conrad MD

I get the challenge that the creators of “South Park” face, and I admire them all the more for overcoming it.  These days incidents and outrages arise on a daily basis that are so ludicrous, so completely idiotic, that they defy attempts at parody and satire.

If the irrelevant can be converted into light and sound energy, then the AMA is as close as we’re likely to get to an inexhaustible supply.  While social media is crawling with doctors yapping like the trained seals most have become over the latest random shooting, the AMA has begun to flay itself over sexual harassment: “#MeToo Comes Home at AMA Meeting – – Emergency resolution calls for outside review of group’s harassment policies.”  I actually laughed out loud when I read this.

Resolution co-authoress and pediatrician Samantha Rosman, MD stated, “Two years ago in Orlando, I was groped by a fellow delegate.”  (There are no further details given, nor could I find any other information in a cursory Google search.  If you know something, please come forward.)  I have no idea what the circumstances were, nor does this story list the alleged perpetrator.  “After hearing similar stories from other women, Rosman felt compelled to bring her complaint to the AMA’s leadership. However, because she was not an AMA employee, she was told there wasn’t a mechanism for dealing with her concern, Rosman said.  Okay, then.  Nowhere in this piece does is note that Dr. Rosman slapped the taste out of the alleged, or gave him (or her?) a severe knee-induced pelvic hematoma, and stomped out with her honor intact, and a wiser ex-groper writhing on the ground.  I’ve worked with a lot of female colleagues and nurses over my career, and not one of them would ever suffer groping passively.  So call me naïve.

AMA Board of Trustees Chair Jack Resneck Jr., MD, recited the adoption of a comprehensive anti-harassment policy, and the typical “zero tolerance” lingo customary to all public damage control, applicable to “all delegates and other associates.”  Rosman originally took her complaint to the Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA), which took a pass, leading to the emergency resolution which throws the handling for any future hot potatoes right back to the CEJA.  And now the AMA has a “compliance hotline” on which the complainant may remain anonymous.  Rosman added, “We don’t need to be embarrassed that this is happening in our house, it’s happening everywhere in this country right now and women are finally speaking up. What we need to be embarrassed about is that we do not have [ways] to deal with it.  We need outside consultation on how to deal with this and we need it to happen now.”

But as Rosman herself makes clear, she is not an AMA employee, and the current policies did not apply to delegates.  So did the circumstances involve a creepy board member applying some sort of lopsided power arrangement, threatening the potential advancement of a younger member?  Was this just a drunk fellow delegate getting handsy in the elevator?  I am not, not, not defending ANY of that rotten behavior, but absent more info and evidence, I’m just one of those knuckle-draggers that doesn’t get it.

What I DO get is that the AMA has for a long time been the perfect incubator for responses to the outrage du jour, and the #metoo fashion fits the bill perfectly.  Instead of dealing with a collapsing health care system and primary care hemorrhage, the House Of Medicine passes an emergency resolution that won’t accomplish much of anything, but is easy, will garner good press, and no one will dare oppose it.  What I also get is that the AMA has been an enabler of harassment for a very long time.  Despite the occasional strongly worded letter, the AMA has lured doctors up to the suite, poured the wine, and waited in the hall while CMS has Weinstein’d U.S. physicians right out of their -modifiers and into a hot CLIA tub.  The AMA still profits mightily from the ICD industry, and tells doctors not to budge from the EHR couch.  The AMA then apologizes, moans for forgiveness, and begs doctors to come home, promising them a prime-time role in the next round of “quality” payouts, after which the poor drugged provider awakens to a round of audits, adjustments, and extrapolated fines.

So forgive me, you AMA bastards, if I don’t quite take you seriously on this, or any other issue.

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