Ob-Gyn Who Complained About Patient on Facebook May Get Fired

Say What!? 117

An OB-GYN in St. Louis has inadvertently ignited an Internet flame war by venting about a tardy patient on her Facebook page. Dr. Amy Dunbar posted, "I have a patient who has chosen to either no-show or be late (sometimes hours) for all of her prenatal visits, ultrasounds and NSTs. She is now three hours late for her induction. May I show up late for her delivery?"

The hospital reprimanded her for her “unprofessional conduct,” but some people are saying that’s not enough and she should be fired for violating doctor/patient confidentiality (she also posted that the woman had had a stillbirth -- although I’m not sure how they figured that out if no names were used).

Or, maybe everyone could take a chill pill and realize that if someone doesn’t want to be called out for being late, they should strive for punctuality. So maybe this doctor shouldn’t have posted her complaint publically, but it’s definitely not a health privacy issue.

Most of us kibitz about stuff on Facebook. It’s a great venting forum, and smart people don’t use names. Really smart people inject humor. Dr. Dunbar was frustrated with her perpetually late patient, so she made a joke about it and shared it with her friends online. Why are patients allowed to complain about doctors being late, but not the other way around?

This whole thing is being blown out of proportion, and she should definitely not lose her job over it. She got in trouble at work, and the hospital even went back and combed through several months of posts to see if there were any other ethical violations.

The thing about social media is that it’s social. We use it to connect to one another, and once we start saying that we can’t complain about our crappy days and get some sympathy from friends, we’re denying ourselves the human experience. Like it or not, social networks are the new water cooler. Just be careful with what you say, because the digital equivalent of, “She’s standing right behind me, isn’t she?” is much more prevalent online than in real life.

Do you think this doctor should be fired for posting on Facebook that her patient was late (again)?


Image via comedy-nose/Flickr

bad habits, doctors, obgyn, stress

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kelti... kelticmom

Unless she posted the name or the photo of her patient, she violated nothing. I vent all the time about the crazy ass patients we see in the ER, but I never say names or pertinent details. And being repeatedly late to doctor appointments is the worst. That is usually why you wait forever at the doctor, because they are running late because of late patients.

Casey Wright

The doctor didn't do anything wrong. Complaining about a patient that she didn't say her name is no different then anyone else complaining about someone at their job. Doctors are no different then anyone else they have good and bad days as well and should be able to complain on Facebook like we all do

TheTr... TheTruthTeller

You'd think someone who has had a stillbirth wouldn't be hours late for her appointments (the ones she bothered to show up to). People like her screw things up for the rest of us. She's your OBGYN, not your servant. Show some respect for your doctor and show some respect for your child.

MsRkg MsRkg

If she posted about the medical condition (the stillbirth )of someone in a public forum, whether she named them by name or not,  that is a violation of the doctor/patient confidentiality and she absolutely should be reprimanded for that 100%. No patients medical condition should ever be discussed outside of a doctor's office and/or with the patient. If she had just posted about the lateness that would have been fine.

Sierr... SierraLynn

Unprofessional? Yes.

Should she be fired? No.

She did not name names. If she had then it would be different.

Nycti... Nyctimene

If it was anonymous (which it apparently was) then what is the big stink? If we fired everyone who ever made a comment about their work on facebook, half the workforce (or better) would be gone in one day. It's not like she was even particularly rude about it. She made it a light joke.

missusmc missusmc

I have many close friends who also work in the medical profession, and I can tell you that if this is a violation of HIPPA, there would be no doctors or nurses left.  They work a stressful job and need to vent (without providing patient privacy info, of course).  No big deal.  We all do it.  I think there are more things to worry about than an anonymous rant on Facebook.

Shrew2u Shrew2u

Having just complained about a variety of shenanigans pulled by some of my tax clients (no names, no identifying info, scorching language), I can understand why she vented.  While she did not reveal identifying info, I'm going to bet that she gave enough information that every person in her office who saw her Facebook knew who she was talking about.  THAT would be worth a reprimand, but not a firing.

Coles... Coles_mom

Hospital sounds like they're just covering their butts in case of a lawsuit. I have a few doctor Facebook friends and I wouldn't think much about it to see someone post that.

jalaz77 jalaz77

Fired no. She didn't break any violations. She did vent in an unprofessional way. However that pt better appreciate the fact that she would see her after being hrs late for appts. Around here if you are 15 mins late you reschedule. I feel the same way about drs making me wait more than 30 min in a little exam room. If you are too packed let me know so I can reschedule, I do have a life.

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