February 19, 2011
This is corroborated by Ann Althouse: “I saw these people myself today. At first I thought it was some sort of comic street theater, but it was, apparently, real doctors, defending what they were doing. I’ll have my video interview up soon. I asked if it was dishonest or unethical, and the answer was that everyone has symptoms, perhaps a migraine, diarrhea, or insomnia. I suggested ‘activitis.'” Someone should complain to the medical licensing board.
UPDATE: A physician reader emails:
Medicolegally, passing out sick notes to anyone (much less strikers walking by) implies the creation of a physician-patient relationship. This means, for example, that it could be construed that you are legally responsible for any medical issues related to said relationship. In Florida, and presumably in WI, you must have an official medical record for all patients that you evaluate and care for. Technically, my writing an antibiotic prescription for my child’s ear infection is forbidden if I don’t have a record kept on file documenting an examination and treatment plan.
There is no doubt that ethically, and presumably legally, the MDs in Madison are committing multiple violations of their regulations in order to further a political goal. Certainly this isn’t nearly as egregious as what has transpired in Philly recently, but I worry that it might help further erode the image of my profession. I do feel that I have the right to voice my opinion in the political arena, but feel that it should be done as an ordinary citizen and not as a physician (as when I was in the military and knew that attending political events in uniform was wrong). Otherwise I might give the impression that I speak for all physicians or that my opinions carry more weight than others.
Sadly, casual abuse of power and position in the service of leftist politics seems to be the norm these days. And Dr. Steve White emails:
I noted the Althouse blog reference at Instapundit.
I’m a physician. I take care of patients. Yes indeed, if I were to give a doctor’s note to someone without conducting a proper medical evaluation (however brief), I’d be guilty of improper behavior and ethics and could be brought before the medical licensing board.
However, there’s another name for this: FRAUD. The teachers will use these notes to justify their absences and collect their pay. Both the doctors and the teachers are perpetrating a fraud.
Wonder if the Wisconsin attorney general could be motivated to look into that? At the very least, demand that any teacher turning in a doctor’s note over this work action also turn over the record of the medical ‘evaluation’. That would put a stop to this real quick.
I wonder what the physicians’ malpractice carriers think about this?
MORE: Here’s Althouse’s video interview with one of the doctors:
FINALLY: Reader Bryon Scott emails: “They told me if I voted for John McCain the health care system would be slanted for a select few, and they were right!”
And reader Matthew Bowdish emails:
I am a physician and I am extremely troubled by Ann’s video, which seems to confirm that these doctors are committing fraud. I did a little searching and it looks like the doc she interviewed is a third-year resident in Family Medicine at the Univ of Wisconsin. His name is Patrick McKenna MD. According to his bio, it looks like he has a “strong interest in politics.” Well, yeah!
I dunno — the name matches, and it could be him, but he sure looks more clean-cut in the photo on his bio page.
And in another cold, snowy place — Cornell — Prof. Jacobson writes: Obamacare Starts Early In Madison – Free Sick Notes For Progressives! “We have seen the future of the health care system, and it is the doctors on the streets of Madison, Wisconsin, handing out free sick notes to public sector union members so they can fraudulently collect their pay for missing work. Boy, oh boy, I can’t wait for Obamacare. Politicized medicine, massive fraud in the name of progressive politics, and a callous disregard for the law free from fear of prosecution for those aligned with the Democrats.”
You could hardly ask for behavior better tailored to lower respect for the medical profession.