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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Spreading the word on 'cut happy' doctors

Original photo credit: Gareth Weeks

There is a lively discussion underway on The Unnecesarean's FaceBook fan page about a doctor who's c-section rate is allegedly around 50 percent - and, not surprisingly, he has a yacht named "Sea Section." Nauseating? Yes. Surprising? Not really.

Apparently, several patients have complained on a doctor ratings web site that he is an '8 to 5' doctor who likes to deliver babies during his shift (at any cost) and then go home for pleasure cruises on his boat (just my speculating, here). One woman admitted that he actually turned down her epidural at the end of his shift - what, in an attempt to get her to consent to a cesarean? As punishment because she didn't want to submit to his brutality?

Another woman gleefully commented that 'both of her children were delivered by c-section by him and that she tells all her friends to go there.' Dear God, help us!

This is the interesting thing about recommending a doctor: if a patient feels they've had a good experience (whether it really was or not, it seems) they don't hesitate to tell all their friends. However, if the doctor does a terrible job, they often chalk it up to a bad experience and move on. If they know the truth behind what he did, do they talk about it to everyone? For those few women who do say something, those who are completely brainwashed seem to disregard it completely.

That ratings website is just one way we can be better advocates - it doesn't take you standing on the rooftops screaming full tilt about your episiotomy, or getting into anyone's face about it - but just leaving a review to speak about your experience in hopes of warning others. Cut and paste, and leave on another site. And another. There is nothing wrong with that. As long as you are level-headed and polite about it (and heck, even if you aren't, you have a right to be angry about it), it's a free country - you can say whatever you want. Why are we so afraid to 'hurt the reputations' of those who have hurt us? As long as it's the truth, it deserves to be told. And loudly.

This is the 'age of information,' where private and public details can be made known in the blink of an eye. It's easy enough to do the research and have the paper trail to back it up: at least one commenter on Jill's site said that a fellow physician could confirm that this doctor does, in fact, have a yacht named "Sea Section." His alleged rates (which can probably be confirmed quite easily as well) obviously reflect that, and by having a boat named that (lots of OB's do, apparently) is making a mockery of a woman in her most vulnerable moment. It's making a mockery of her pain (as the one reviewer could testify to), and of the beautiful experience that childbirth ultimately should be. It also seems like a slap in the face to the insurance companies who are paying for these procedures that often drive up costs for other people, all so Dr. Yacht can go and enjoy his long weekend.

I would love to see someone go down to that marina and take a picture of his boat - and then get testimonies from patients about what has happened to them - and take it to the local paper or television station. It may not result in much, but then again, it also might. If enough pressure is put on, maybe it can result in disciplinary action. Maybe complete loss of privileges. Maybe, at the very least, public scrutiny can cause this guy to change the way he practices medicine, because people realize it's not in their best interests and puts them at needless risk. To the wrong person, it might sound like a witch hunt - but then again, a news broadcast viewed by one member of the Florida State Medical Board might result in an investigation that could finally open the eyes of Dr. Yacht's entire patient base. You just never know.


Heather Griffith Brewer said...

The thing that bothers me, and it's been said a million times before, is the fact that OB's don't seem to be held to the same "ethical" rules as other medical folks. Overkill is acceptable...and the veil of protection is very real.
I know more women who left their c-sections with the attitude that they had just been "spared" from certain disaster, than women who walked away feeling like it was all nonsense. I imagine that many women who harbor those quiet "WTF?" feelings actually feel a bit guilty about not being grateful for the fact that they all made it out alive. I think that many women have a very hard time reconciling a lot of the feelings they have after any birth trauma. And honestly, if we held these OB's accountable, maybe they would be more responsible.
We need to get rid of this "cut first, ask questions later" mentality.

The Deranged Housewife said...

I think for a lot of women who harbor feelings of guilt and emotional trauma over a c/s they probably think there's something wrong with them - mainly because the majority of women do feel like their doctor swooped in just in time to save them, or because the majority of c/s moms don't talk about their feelings this way. It's the whole 'happy baby!" mentality - like, how dare you question your doctor on this life-saving procedure? I've heard the "My baby and I would have died!" mantra enough to freaking puke at this point.

Not that long ago I was sitting in church listening to a sermon - the preacher said how an abuser will hurt you and use you and you will thank him for helping you. My mind immediately conjured up these images. It's so true. 'Thank you for saving me when I really didn't need saving in the first place,' when in fact you were the one who created the problem in the first place so that you could 'rescue' me from almost certain death/injury/whatever. Sickening.

K said...

It is becoming increasingly common for doctors to require patients to agree to not post on ratemd, vitals and other similar sites. the form is right between your consent to bill insurance and HIPAA forms. i don't understand how docs think they can enforce such an agreement but they are trying to stop patients from exchanging information anyway.

The Deranged Housewife said...

Wow, K - I had no idea. I wonder if they will try to shut those sites down. That's sad- that you don't feel confident enough about your capabilities that you don't mind people sharing info about you. Granted, for some they will be malicious no matter what, but hey - if you don't have anything to hide, who cares, right? *sigh*