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Mar 05, 2004
CONTACT: Doug Heller - 310-392-0522 x309
Consumer Groups Call Doctor-Run Website "Moral Malpractice"
AMA Should Denounce Patient Blacklisting, Groups SayRead the consumer groups letter to the American Medical Association
Two of the nation's leading consumer advocacy organizations, the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights and Texas Watch, today called on the American Medical Association (AMA) to denounce and disavow an emerging national trend by doctors to deny medical care to patients who have filed a medical malpractice claim in the past. The groups sent a letter to AMA President Dr. Donald Palmisano today specifically calling on his organization to renounce the creation of a new website www.DoctorsKnow.Us that creates what amounts to a modern day blacklist of individuals who have pursued their constitutional right to a trial by jury.
"This contemptuous disregard for the public health and the Hippocratic Oath is moral malpractice," the groups wrote in their letter to the AMA. "It is pure thuggery intended to blacklist patients who have been victimized by negligence and hurt by medical mistakes,"
This new website is the latest in a growing movement among doctors across the nation who are denying medical treatment and ignoring their duty to patients simply because they have turned to the courts for justice in the past. The organizations also noted stories of doctors in Florida, Georgia and Texas denying care to patients or patient advocates as well as communication between New Jersey medical professionals advocating that doctors inconvenience patients and delay care in order to highlight the medical malpractice issue.
"It is frightening to know that because a drug-addicted doctor, who was allowed to practice medicine, caused permanent brain damage, blindness and permanent disability in my husband during surgery, my family is on a medical blacklist," said Delores Romero, of Humble, Texas who along with her three children are listed on the DoctorsKnow.US database. "Good doctors should be protecting patients -- not drug addicted doctors."
The organizations called the AMA's attention to the impact their hard line political messaging and posturing has had on the emergence of this vigilante-like behavior. "The fact is, the overtly anti-patient proposals and actions of some doctors is driven by the more refined vitriol of the AMA in its effort to take away the rights of injured patients."
March 5, 2004
Dr. Donald Palmisano, MD, JD
President, American Medical Association
515 N. State Street
Chicago, IL 60610
Dear Dr. Palmisano:
We write to alert you to a very disturbing website that has recently appeared. The site, www.DoctorsKnow.us, and its founder, Dr. John S. Jones, suggest that doctors should withhold care from patients who may have been involved in a medical malpractice lawsuit as an injured victim, an attorney or an expert witness. Indeed, the website's Dr. Jones, of Dallas, Texas told the newsletter, Medical Liability Monitor, "Physicians now have a choice whether or not to treat those who have filed repeated malpractice suits, whether they are patients or attorneys."
This contemptuous disregard for the public health and the Hippocratic Oath is moral malpractice. It is pure thuggery intended to blacklist patients who have been victimized by negligence and hurt by medical mistakes.
The website's tagline -- "They can sue, but they can't hide" -- is just one of many statements suggesting that injured patients and their attorneys should be punished for being victims of medical mistakes. Why do doctors buy medical malpractice insurance, except to provide restitution to these victims? But the goal of this site is to eradicate by intimidation the legitimate claims of injured patients. As Dr. Jones told MLM, "Patients have the right to sue, but they need to realize there are consequences to their actions."
The obscenity of this message should not be tolerated by the American Medical Association and the AMA should denounce this site and rescind Dr. Jones' membership, if he is an AMA member. That this kind of site exists is troubling enough and that a medical society -- Hudson County Medical Society of New Jersey -- would actually link to it is shameful.
But you must do more than simply disavow this website. You must completely disavow the premise of Dr. Jones' dangerous site -- "Malpractice plaintiffs must now permanently bear the burden of their public claims."
The deeper truth about this site is that it is only an extreme version of a problem that seems to be springing up around the country: a vigilantism among some doctors who seem willing to renege on their duty to patients because they have filed a medical malpractice claim in the past.
We have heard stories of doctors in Florida, Georgia and Texas denying care to patients and patient advocates as well as e-mails to New Jersey doctors advocating that doctors inconvenience patients and delay care in order to highlight the medical malpractice issue. The fact is, the overtly anti-patient proposals and actions of some doctors is driven by the more refined vitriol of the AMA in its effort to take away the rights of injured patients.
When members of the medical community will endanger the lives of American citizens in order to punish an individual's exercising of his or her seventh amendment right to trial, it is time to reassess your strategy. This website and the other vigilante-like decisions being made by some doctors should sound an alarm at the AMA that your organization's political messages may be fomenting desperate and irresponsible acts that undermine the good name of doctors in this country.
As the nation's largest organization of doctors, you should swiftly and clearly send the message that patient retribution is unacceptable.
Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights
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