The Patient of the New Millenium
What is it like to deal with patients in 2020? Maybe it is the same as it has always been, but maybe things are different. Patients lie. A lot. Patients do not reveal all of their health conditions prior to surgery. They do not tell about previous life threatening conditions. They do not tell about previous surgery that they know will impact the surgery and make it more difficult and sometimes more risky.
They say they do not smoke, only to smell the smoke on their clothing. They say they do not smoke weed. When asked about the smell, they say it was the person who gave them a ride smoking weed in the car while driving.
Patients complain about having to wait for appointment or surgery despite showing up an hour late. They complain about wanting to see more before and after pictures but then refuse to give consent for use of their photos. They try to cancel surgery 30 minutes before the procedure, citing an automobile crash or a death in the family.
Patients steal others’ identities to pay for surgical procedures. Patients perform credit card fraud every day. They file charge-backs for services already rendered. They write reviews in which every sentence is a lie. They move without concern for the surgeon or the consequences of their actions. They feel immune to repercussions.
Nothing is there to corral them or hold them accountable. Threats of intimidation or extortion or blackmail are not punished by law enforcement. Doctors cannot respond to any of these ne’er-do-wells in any meaningful manner as patients hide behind privacy rights despite uttering falsehoods with impunity.
However, some medical doctors have not taken to this kindly. One doctor won $12 million in damages for defamation. Another won 4 million dollars in damages. Many other lawsuits are pending for defamation. If the statements made are false, the doctors can recover damages.