Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Patients & Care-givers: Stay Away from Physician Rating SItes, Apologize When Necessary

There are web sites on the Internet that make it very easy for patients and families to rate doctors.  Very often, the patients can do so anonymously.  


IMHO, those sites cause nothing but trouble.  It is very difficult to retract statements once made.


If a patient has trouble with a physician or a medical facility, the first course of action must be for the patient to contact the physician directly.  Communication is essential.  


If the efforts at communication are not successful and the patient honestly feels that the break-down of the physician/patient relationship is systemic of a larger problem on the medical side of the equation then use of the Internet is important.  But, the patient owes the medical community honesty and transparency.  


The patient should always use his or her real name.  


And, whenever necessary, the patient should retract and apologize to the physician for misunderstandings.


For example, I use my full name. When my dad was very sick, I only used my first name to protect his rights.  However, as dad's health improved, he and I discussed what I was doing.  Dad gave me permission to use his name and image.  Dad understood that I was trying to help patients understand they were not alone in their struggles to get adequate health care.


Another example:  I misunderstood Cleveland Clinic Orthopedic Surgeon George Muschler MD's decision not to accept me as a patient.  I posted a blog expressing what I honestly believed was the truth.  I removed the post approximately within 24 hours later because I quickly began to understand that it was I who did not have all of the facts.  


A blogger should never write when emotional or when he/she does not have all of the facts.  The First Amendment comes with responsibilities.


When I did have all of the facts, I wrote a post where I thanked Dr. George Muschler of Cleveland Clinic.  He is fine man and tremendous clinician.  I regret that I was ever disappointed in or "upset" at Dr. Muschler.  I was wrong and I apologize to Dr. Muschler.  


Dr. Muschler did absolutely nothing wrong in denying to treat me.  He acted reasonably based on the facts that he had.


I encourage anyone in need of orthopedic care to trust Dr. George Muschler without hesitation.

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