MEDICAL WATCH - Patient A, “Emily”, wrote a Yelp review for a prominent infertility doctor in California.
“Dr. Jones.” Jones took over Emily’s care after Dr. Jones’ father, also a doctor, made several medical errors. Daughter Dr. Jones attempted to persuade Emily into not seeking care from a well-known hospital, promising she’d resolve the issues causing the pain.
Dr. Jones went as far as admitting Emily to the hospital and attempted to get her to consent to a hysterectomy. Pertinent concerns were ignored - the diagnosis offered was incorrect. Dr. Jones exclaimed nothing was wrong and denied the factors causing pain. Emily could not sit for three years due to pain and endured over twenty injections for pain.
After posting her honest Yelp review, Emily received a letter from an attorney of Dr. Jones’ threatening to sue her for a million dollars if the post was not removed within three days.
The letter states that Dr. Jones doesn’t know Emily and never admitted her to the hospital. Also noting that hysterectomies are not in her scope of practice even though she attempted to persuade Emily into consenting to have her perform one on her.
Emily has medical records to support her statements, yet she removed the post after several more threatening letters from the lawyer telling her it would “not end well for her.”
It always hasn’t ended well. The trajectory of events stemming from the original error have been financially, physically, and emotionally devastating. The aggressive threats to silence her proved to be another layer of intentional harm and prohibit potential patients of Dr. Jones from knowing of her unsavory conduct, misdiagnosis, lies, and bullying.
- Four in ten patients are harmed in primary and outpatient health care.
- Medical error done in hospitals is cited to be the third lead cause of death in the U.S.
These statistics fall short. Not one person I know whom medical professionals harmed is counted. The violations, no matter how egregious, are covered up via threats, reputation management, hush settlements, fraudulent records, doctors who lie for their fellows, medical professionals who are afraid to come forward for fear of job loss and retaliation, corrupt medical boards and courts, and intentionally inaccurate death certificates.
Consumers suffer, and doctors and the public do not learn true outcomes in order to prevent harm. As in the case of Emily, the victim of medical harm is blamed, threatened with lawsuits by offenders and their protectors, and slandered, often being labeled with fictitious disorder.
Also common is for the accused doctor to push for non-disclosure agreements, which requires victims to sign away their rights to free speech. The settlement / bribe is one penny under the reporting limit so the offending doctor does not have to report their negligent behavior to their boards or the public. Review sites are not reliable due gags, threats, et al.
Low-level payouts do not financially take care of consumers that doctors caused bodily harm or lessened health or families left without a wage earner. The gags increase trauma for victims by muzzling them when their instincts and duty as citizens are to warn others.
A doctor surgically assaulted and permanently disabled Patient B, “Jane Doe”, during a routine outpatient procedure. Doe’s primary care physician (PCP) referred the surgeon. After the harm, the PCP colluded with the surgeon in a cover-up. Ms. Doe’s lawyer bullied and harassed her to get her to sign a Release Of All Claims, which would have left her destitute, but paid the lawyer. Ms. Doe refused and was sent a bill for corrupt proceedings.
RELEASE OF ALL CLAIMS
FOR AND IN CONSIDERATION of the payment to me at this time of the sum of TWENTY NINE THOUSAND NINE HUNDRED AND NINETY-NINE DOLLARS AND 99/100 ($29,999.99), receipt of which is hereby acknowledged, I, JANE DOE, (hereinafter collectively the "Releasor") individually, being of lawful age, do for myself, my heirs, executors, Administrators and assigns, hereby fully release, acquit and forever discharge DR. JOHN DOUGH, M.D. and his attorneys, counselors at law, agents, representatives and employees, and all other persons, firms, insurance companies and corporations (hereinafter collectively the "Releasees"), from any and all actions, causes of action, claims (including liens, attorneys’ fees and costs), demands, damages, loss of services, expenses and compensation, on account of or in any way growing out of any and all known and unknown personal injuries, wrongful death and property damage resulting from or to result from or by reason of any acts or omissions on the part of the Releasees occurring at any time prior hereto, the facts of which are more particularly set forth in that certain action filed in the Superior Court of the State of California entitled JANE DOE VS DR. JOHN DOUGH M.D. being Case No. 123456789.
Releasor maintains that the payments described in this Release are made in consideration for claims of personal injuries within the meaning of Section 104(a) (2) of the Internal Revenue Code. Releasees take no position on that issue, make no advice thereon, and do not characterize the payments other than that they constitute full consideration for the complete Release of All Claims.
It is understood and agreed that we hereby EXPRESSLY WAIVE all rights under Section 1542 of the California Civil Code, which provides as follows: GENERAL RELEASE – CLAIMS EXTINGUISHED.A GENERAL RELEASE DOES NOT EXTEND TO CLAIMS WHICH THE CREDITOR DOES NOT KNOW OR SUSPECT TO EXIST IN HIS FAVOR AT THE TIME OF EXECUTING THE RELEASE, WHICH IF KNOWN BY HIM MUST HAVE MATERIALLY AFFECTED HIS SETTLEMENT WITH THE DEBTOR.
I hereby declare and represent that the injuries sustained are permanent and progressive and that recovery therefrom is uncertain and indefinite, and in making this release and agreement it is understood and agreed that I rely wholly upon my judgment, belief and knowledge of the nature, extent and duration of said injuries, and that I have not been influenced to any extent whatsoever in making this release by any representations or statements regarding said injuries, or regarding any other matters, made by the Releasees, or by any person or persons representing the Releasees, or by any physician or surgeon employed by the Releasees.
I hereby declare and represent that I am effecting this settlement and executing this Release after having received from legal counsel full legal advice as to my rights. I hereby authorize and direct the undersigned attorney of record to forthwith dismiss WITH PREJUDICE the aforementioned suit now pending, being Case No. 123456789 to recover damages, general or special, for the aforesaid incident, accident, injuries or damages.
It is further understood and agreed that this settlement is the compromise of a disputed claim and that the payment is not to be construed as an admission of liability on the part of the Releasees, by whom liability is expressly denied.
It is expressly agreed that this agreement is confidential and is not to be discussed or published in any way to any person by Releasor or her counsel, except in response to any official inquiry initiated by a governmental agency. It is understood that this promise of confidentiality is a material part of this agreement and that breach thereof could result in a claim for damages.
Releasor agrees that he/ she will not disparage DR. JOHN DOUGH, M.D. or post any negative statements, reviews or comments about DR. JOHN DOUGH M.D., his or her services or his or her staff in any written publication or online forum, chat room, or message board, including but not limited to Yelp, Facebook, Twitter or any other social media. Releasor further agrees to remove all written or electronic communication online previously posted about DR. JOHN DOUGH, M.D., his or her services or his staff.
Parties agree that in the event it is established that Releasor has failed to comply with this provision, DR. JOHN DOUGH, M.D. retains all rights of enforcement to include consequential damages in the enforcement of this provision or agreement.
This Release of All Claims contains the ENTIRE AGREEMENT and understanding among the parties concerning the subject matter hereof, and supersedes and replaces all prior negotiations and proposed agreements, written and oral. Each of the parties hereto acknowledges that no other party, and no agent or attorney of any other party, has made any promise, representation or warranty whatsoever, express or implied, not contained herein concerning the subject matter hereof, to induce any party to execute this release, and acknowledges that no party hereto has executed this release in reliance upon any such promise, representation or warrant contained herein.
I further state that I have carefully read the foregoing release and know the contents thereof, and I sign the same as my own free act. ~ END DOCUMENT
A relative of “Angela,” victim C, added a Severability Clause to circumnavigate the gag clause. “Through absolutely no fault of our own, (Insert Institution name) caused great catastrophic loss to my family. Due to these losses sustained by said institutions missteps, my financial situation has become strained. Select is morally bound to recover compensation for these losses, which said institution chose to grossly devalue. Therefore I maintain that in order to recover any portion of our losses, without the added strain of court proceedings, it is truly Under Duress I "sign.”
Please be advised that this does not constitute any "agreement" on my part to comply with Select's unethical demands. I have absolutely no intention whatsoever of complying, and have NOT complied. These are said institution’s usage of intimidation tactics to bully innocent victims.
Medical gags and threats are unethical, unconstitutional, and standard practice. I wrote this article to broaden awareness of these draconian silencers that hamper public safety.
(Sasha Lauren, author of The Paris Predicament, is a patient safety educator and Citywatch contributor. As a L.M.T. she gave over 30,000 sessions of therapeutic massage and taught massage, relaxation, and behavioral health skills. Her approach is holistic and preventative. The information presented in this article is not for personal medical or legal advice or instruction.)