The media has no problem positioning physicians as bad actors. Consider these headlines: Chicago Doc accused in baby’s death gets a little help from the klan or Vengeful doctor and his sheriff buddy face Texas-style justice.
Of course, you think, this is the stuff born of the National Enquirer. Actually, no. The titles were generated by LA Times journalist and Pulitzer Prize finalist William Heisel on his blog, Antidote. The posts are part of his “Doctors Behaving Badly Tour.” The blog is supported by the USC Annenberg School of Communication.
This reminds me of “Dead by Mistake,” Hearst’s lurid repository of medical error launched in 2009 (My fav: From a broken leg to a vegetative state). But perhaps the hive sees it for what it is. Based on the activity of its social properties the site may be headed for its own DNR.
This is sensational stuff that misrepresents the medical profession.
I believe in the importance of investigative reporting. Some of these stories need to be told. Others, however, do nothing to advance the needs and interests of patients or the reading public. Patients need to be educated about the importance of advocacy and safety. But this needs to be done in a metered, responsible way that respects those physicians, hospitals and state medical boards doing their best in a changing world.
Heisel (and others with his level of talent) would better serve the public with a more balanced view of what doctors do. While there are clearly rogue operators (literally), physicians do some pretty remarkable things that never see the light of day. We have stories that need to be told.
But good news is no news and balanced views don’t sell.
Where am I wrong?