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(okay, the obvious pun title for this was something like “Hypocritic Oath”. But I didn’t go there, see? Everyone pat my back)
Apparently, when some Americans see shitty doctors, they complain to their friends and neighbors. Sometimes they are so upset about the way their doctor behaved, or the lack of medical help they received, they go to websites that rate doctors and give the offender poor ratings. What are these poor, beleagured doctors to do, when faced with the consequences of their own actions?
Yes, some docs are responding by refusing to treat people until they’ve signed an agreement not to post negative things about said doctor on the internet. “What’s that? You’ve felt like shit for weeks, finally were able to schedule an appointment with my office, and took a day off from work that you can’t really afford to come see me? Sign this form or I won’t even point a stethoscope in your direction, asshole.”
There is one tiny bit of validity to the doctor’s concerns: people are usually more passionate about complaining than about praise. So Dr. X is more likely to get criticized on a doctor rating site than praised, and that could be hurtful to his ego and business. But thems the breaks, Dr. X! You do stuff, people will react to that stuff, and you’ve got to deal with it.
The worst thing about this to me, is the treatment of human health like a commodity and medical care as a contract. Sure, says Capitalism, if you don’t want to sign the waiver, find another doctor. But you go to the doctor when you’re sick. It’s not like the imaginary free market, where competitors are fiercely battling to sell you the greatest product at the lowest price. You often don’t have the time to browse, research, haggle, etc., cuz you’re fucking ill!
Thankfully, this does not seem to be common, yet. Out of a nation of zillions of doctors, it seems that only 2000 (”only”?) are using this service (provided by the complete pricks at “Medical Justice, Inc.”). And I am also very pleased to read that one of the offending websites, RateMDs.com, has started a “wall of shame” page, to list doctors who are using these “gag contracts”. It also looks like the issue is starting to get a little traction in the media, so hooray for that.
In conclusion, don’t get sick. Ever.
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