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

117 Comments

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nicol... nicolemead91

its just  un-classy and un-professional to complain about your patients on facebook!!!! i mean ur supposed to be there and help your patients! you knew what u were signing up for in the beginning!!

nicol... nicolemead91

maybe they should have fired her..u never know the young woman getting an induction may not have a car or a liable ride to the hospital or what ever! still SO UNPROFESSIONAL!!!!     bad

Jason B. Whitman

There is no reason this doctor should face further action on this issue. Patient privacy was not compromised as she provided no identifiable information. I would argue she should not have been reprimanded, either.

momto... momtolittleg

I'd she didn't name names, I don't see what the problem is. 

nonmember avatar Hanabee

Everyone saying how unprofessional this is better not complain about something that happens to them at work ever. She didn't use names, she did not break any codes. It is incredibly rude to show up 3 hours late. I would have not been her dr anymore. All the perfect women on this site who never complain it do anything wrong are so annoying! Get real people!

abra819 abra819

Just poor taste really. Repremanded was a good decision.

Pinkmani Pinkmani

She didn't name the patient's name, she should keep her job without being reprimanded or suspended. By being late, the patient is making everyone else late. 

miche... micheledo

I don't see what the big deal is.  She complained about someone being late.  She didn't talk about their health, she didn't name them.  Can people not say ANYTHING about their jobs now??


People say WAY TOO MUCH on social media sites (IMO), but this isn't really one of those.  If she named the lady or gave other details it would be.  Besides, I would really be shocked if she was friends with the lady who was late.  

jec72579 jec72579

I think that reprimanding the Dr is really going too far, even. I mean, come on. There were NO doctor-patient confidentiality rules broken, and if the patient didn't want to be called out (even anonymously), it's called BE ON TIME!!!!! Sounds like this patient has a recurring problem with consistently being late?


i think this is a bit of an over-reaction.

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