Doctors Forcing Patients to Sign Gag Orders
Can you believe this?!
There are doctors who are forcing patients to sign a contract promising not to criticize the doctor, “his expertise and/or treatment.”
No signature-No medical care
If the patients won’t sign the contract, the doctors won’t treat them.
I will ask again: Can you flippin’ believe this?!
Doctors don’t like online reviews
The contracts are in response to websites that are springing up around the internet that allow patients to post reviews about their doctors. Doctors don’t like the fact that the websites allow patients to post negative comments, but doctors have no way to respond without breaching patient confidentiality.
So they have resorted to blackmail. Sign the paper or don’t get medical care!
Can you believe this?!
Patients come to their doctors when they are sick, afraid and vulnerable. If you needed medical care and a doctor shoved a piece of paper in front of you and said: “Sign it or find another doctor” what would you do? I think most people would sign anything in order to get the medical care they need.
One of the websites doctors are concerned about is RateMDs.com. Co-founder John Swapceinski, said that in recent months, six doctors have asked him to remove negative online comments based on patients’ signed waivers. He has refused.
“They’re basically forcing the patients to choose between health care and their First Amendment rights, and I really find that repulsive,” Swapceinski said.
I agree. It is repulsive…and I think it is also a violation of doctor’s fiduciary duty to their patients.
What about the Hippocratic Oath?
Perhaps the doctors that are using these contracts have forgotten their Hippocratic oath. When taking the oath, that deals with the ethical practice of medicine, doctors promise: ” To keep the good of the patient as the highest priority.”
Perhaps they need to add “…unless the patient complains about me.”
What Happened to Freedom of Speech?
Admittedly these types of online reviews are unscientific and subjective. But why shouldn’t patients have the right to express their opinions (as long as they aren’t slanderous)? Why shouldn’t people have the opportunity to hear what other patients have said about the specialist they have been referred to?
So what do you think?
As a public service here are some of the online doctor reviews that I could find: