Richard, I am sitting here today after coming back from a consult wearing the same scrubs that I was wearing Friday July 13, 2007. I know these are the fateful scrubs since I can still see the pen marks of hasty notes I made on the scrubs after the hospital chief of staff summarily suspended me on Friday the 13th.
At the time, I had no clue what the summary suspension meant. I did not understand what peer review meant and ultimately I had no clue what I was facing. My mother was a retired physician and as a woman minority she had only one piece of advice FIGHT. She was willing to lend me her retirement money to set things straight. In the days that followed I spoke with colleagues, risk managers, and proceeded to undergo a sham peer review which felt like I was in wonderland thru the looking glass. My friends at the hospital were worthless and now I know who my true friends are.
Everyone told me get an attorney, sue, claim discrimination etc… I still cant remember exactly how I found you but I believe it was after I Googled some articles about hospital review and found the term “peer review”. That ultimately led me to a cross road. I had contacted 3 attorneys and you. I was surprised when you called me so quickly and your original supposition/observation that I might be stressed out was 1000% correct. When you meet someone on the internet it is hard to believe if what they are saying is true or complete fabrication so we talked and talked and talked.
I took your advice, testing it along the way. I was able to turn the heat/anger down by taking a conciliatory route while at the same time negotiating with the hospital with an attorney that was interested in solving the problem not dragging it out. After comparing notes with other physicians which spent 50, 100, 200, 300 thousand dollars I realize how lucky I was.
Thank you for taking the time to speak with my mother (retired neurologist) since she was the only person whose advice I trusted and she wanted to fight to the last dollar. I am also glad that I took you advice on avoiding publicity, public discussion, reports to JCAPHO and the state. Ultimately those efforts would have painted the hospital and medial staff into a corner and they would have National Practitioner Databanked me as well as reporting me to the state board for certain.
Your advice reminds me a lot of the cognitive benefit of the internist. Sometimes doing nothing or advising to do nothing can avoid unproductive costly intervention and mistakes. That is a lot more difficult to quantify then performing a surgery but far more valuable to the patient. Unfortunately not all patients appreciate that when I give them advice to have no surgery or prescribe no medications during a consultation. The cognitive is truly very difficult to quantify.
The end result of my current summary suspension is that the summary suspension has been lifted, full privileges have been restored and the chief of staff has agree to expunge the summary suspension. I was able to settle with the hospital with an agreement which left my privileges intact and was a complete win for me. The hospital Medical Executive Committee has approved the agreement and last I heard from the attorney the board will endorse the MEC approval.
Just in time for my birthday today! That was a hell of a gift. I wish it had a receipt so I could return the damn thing but it was a tremendous learning experience.
Thank you for all your advice and I have referred a few colleagues who have been databanked or have a peer review sham pending.
S. O. MD