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Archive for April, 2008

The Bully Psychiatrist from Naples, FL – Follow Up and Lessons Learned

A few months ago I told you about an addiction psychiatrist from Naples, Florida who is a bully. Well — he is still bullying. I heard from him again today.

At that time I shared with you a story about a comment that had been made about him by someone who had read my blog. Nothing I had said, rather, commentary by someone else about how she felt she had been sexually harrassed, stalked and mistreated by this man.

I told you how, behind my back, he had pulled my WordPress blog offline and had contacted my About.com colleagues to ask them to make me pull THIS blog offline — but he had never even contacted me! He never asked me if I would remove the comment, which — if I had known there was a problem — I would have. The comment was a he-said, she-said type of thing. I don’t know either of the parties. I would have pulled the post. All he needed to do was send me an email to request it — and as you can see — my email address is front and center on every page of this blog. I’m a reasonable person. No excuses for his bullying tactics.

In frustration, this Naples psychiatrist finally sent me an email DEMANDING I remove the comment. Aha! He did find my email address! He cited all kinds of federal laws and trademark infringements he thought I was violating. At that point, I replied to him, and told him I don’t respond well to bully tactics. He had found my email address just fine at that point — so why didn’t he contact me before contacting my colleagues?

And then, I asked him for an apology. I just wanted him to take responsibility for all his bullying. With an apology, I would removed the post and that would be the end.

The apology was never forthcoming. Nope. Instead he threatened me some more — so I published my first post which you can find here.

You can imagine then how I felt about another email arriving from the bully psychiatrist today. Here’s an excerpt — copied and pasted — the typos are his:

Subject: YOU ARE BEING SUE

PLEASE BE ADVISED IF THE FOLLOWING CONTENT IS NOT REMOVED WITHING 3 WORKING
DAYS, I WILL ADVISED MY ATTORNEY TO INCLUDE YOUR WEB COMPANY AND
AFFILIATES IN A LIBEL SUIT FOR $1,000,000 DOLLARS FOR DAMAGE AND EMOTIONAL
HARM. YOU CONTINUE HAVE METAGS THAT APPEAR AS FOLLOWS IN GOOGLES AND OTHER
SEARCH ENGINES

Hmmm…. so the question is…. what happened to all those cyberstalking laws he cited in his first contact with me? Now — who is stalking whom? All I asked for was an apology from the bully. He can’t handle an apology — so now he’s stalking me. Never mind that I live more than 1,000 miles away.

But — what he doesn’t know is that I spend quite a bit of time in South Florida — not far from Naples, Ft. Meyers, Marco Island… I have family there and I’m there several times a year. In fact, I’ll be there within the next few weeks, so while I’m there, I plan to make a trip up to the Naples police department to see what kinds of restraining orders or other paperwork there may be on him. If he contacts me again, I’ll add a restraining order to their records.

I will not be bullied.

And what does it mean to you, the reader of this blog? Patients need to be able to protect themselves from dangerous doctors, whether those doctors are addicted to alcohol or other substances, bad surgeons, guilty of making mistakes with their patients — or even bullies.

Here is a good way to do it:

Sometimes all it requires is a general google search to get the information you need. If you know the doctor’s name, then search on that first, plus the word “blog” or the word “problem” or even “malpractice.” You may need to use your location, too, because there may be more than one doctor who has the same name.

Even if you don’t know his or her name, Just input your location, the type of doctor you seek (family practice, orthopedist, whatever) — and then those words: blog, malpractice, problem, even “error” or “mistake.”

Be sure to look down through five or six pages of google results — and you have a better chance of finding the information you need. Even if there haven’t been lawsuits, you can get general impressions of a doctor if someone has had a very good or very bad experience and chose to share that information online.

Bullying is never acceptable. I’m still waiting for that apology. I refuse to respond to bullying tactics.

I hope you will follow my lead.

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Is the Federal Government Taking Away Your Patient Rights?

Kim Witczak, a fixer supreme, who has worked hard to protect others after losing her husband to prescription drug-induced suicide, has posted the second Every Patient’s Advocate Guest Blog Post — see it here.

Kim’s husband Woody was having trouble sleeping. His doctor prescribed Zoloft. Woody took his own life, and only later after doing some investigative work, did Kim learn that Pfizer, the manufacturer of Zoloft, knew that suicide was an adverse side effect of Zoloft. In order to get FDA approval to sell the drug, Pfizer covered up the studies that showed the suicide risk. Kim sued Pfizer and won the lawsuit.

Now it seems that drug companies are using FDA approval to stand between them and law suits. A recent ruling says patients who suffer from adverse events, even when they could not have known about possibilities because the drug companies withheld that information, cannot sue if the FDA gave approval.

So let’s think this through a minute…. the drug manufacturer lies by covering up patient deaths. The FDA approves the drug, because it doesn’t know the drug causes deaths. A patient takes the drug — and dies. And when a lawsuit ensues, the ruling is “sorry — since the FDA approved the drug, the patient has no case.”

Does this make sense to you? Read what Kim has to say about it. Then be outraged.

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Bloggers Affect the Objectivity of Science

An interesting article about scientists and their ties to profit making medical organizations such as pharma, device manufacturers and others has crossed my desk.

And it’s a welcome change of pace!

Questions have surrounded the objectivity of researchers for several years. A scientist or researcher who is employed by, say, a university, has traditionally accepted money from device manufacturers to help support research into, say, materials used in the building of a knee replacement.

See why it’s not objective? Biting the hand that feeds you is never a good idea.

Somehow, until recently, few of those doctors and researchers saw the problems, though. It was like the money blinded them to their lack of objectivity…. until….

Dr. Peter Libby, the chief of cardiovascular medicine at Harvard’s Brigham and women’s Hospital, and an opinion leader in many areas of heart-related health, helped produce a documentary with PBS called “the Mysterious Human Heart.” He took no pay for it — but when the program hit the airwaves, bloggers everywhere attacked him for his ties to the pharma and device manufacturers which they claimed tainted the “objective” heart health information contained in the documentary.

He couldn’t live with the scrutiny, nor having his integrity questioned. Dr. Libby no longer accepts any form of support, monetary or otherwise, from the industry. He continues to work with those companies, but does so without pay.

Dr. Libby’s epiphany is only one of several cited in the article. Kudos to all the professionals who are beginning to “get it.”

We will all benefit from objectivity — and the medicine needle will begin its move more to the ‘science’ end, and away from the ‘art’ side of the patient-health-improvement barometer.

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My Daughters’ Grief — End-of-Life Decisions, Advanced Directives

Word came from my daughters this morning that their father has died. David died of a lethal combination of lupus, high blood pressure and alcoholism at the age of 59.

Yes, he was my ex-husband. Divorced 20 years ago in 1988, there are 800+ miles between where I live and where he lived, miles put between us intentionally, in 1993, to keep my girls safe. We had been married for 16 years. His second wife was smart enough to leave after four.

David had his first stroke at the age of 43, during his second marriage, and was disabled for the rest of his life. His health rode the roller coaster, with additional strokes and other difficulties over the years.

Now that my daughters, Becca and Ashley, are young adults (31 and 25), I have had no contact with him directly in more than ten years. Yet he has still been very much a part of my life, because he spent those intervening years making life difficult for his daughters. As their mom, I have lent a shoulder, and provided an ear. I have tried to hold my tongue when appropriate, and I have interfered only once that I can remember. And believe me, it was warranted.

David was selfish his entire life. As far as he was concerned, the world revolved around him, and if he got a small hint that it didn’t — then he would take steps to reorient his world so it would. I lost track of how many Christmases and other holidays were interrupted because “the end was near.”

Why do I share this with you today? Because, after wreaking havoc in my daughters’ lives for all these years, he also committed the ultimate difficultly for them — he left no instructions about what to do at the end of his life. No DNR, no living will.

Ashley was his medical proxy. He trusted her to make decisions for his health. Even then, he only made that assignment because his providers insisted on it. BUT, he wouldn’t talk to her about the end of his life — he left her to make all those difficult end-of-life decisions. Until the very end, she had no idea what kinds of decisions to make. Did he want breathing machines? A feeding tube? Should be be resuscitated?

Not having had discussions with his daughters to make those decisions easier for them to make was, in my opinion, the ultimate selfish act. The stress, the grief, the gut-grinding heartache about whether or not they were following his wishes created an emotional agony that will be his legacy.

And that’s why I share this personal post with you — because I hope YOU will understand the importance of making end-of-life decisions, called advanced directives, for yourself. Putting your wishes into writing, and discussing them with your family, is so important.

And NOT making your wishes known is just plain self-centered and selfish.

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