Don’t judge me! I had a valid reason for being a snitch. I take my job as a nurse practitioner seriously. In my line of work if I make a mistake it could be a gravely one for the patient. And for that reason, I’ve made it a practice to never take shortcuts. Another human’s life is literally in my hands. Now, this is not to say honest mistakes don’t happen in the medical world, because they do.
Moving on… Since I have high standards and strive to provide my patients with optimal care, I expect my colleagues to do the same. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Several years ago I worked with a doctor who was copying my history and physical notes without examining the patient! Did y’all read that? He/she would copy my notes word for word, never touched the patient, and would bill for the highest level of service. Sir/ma’am, that’s medical fraud!
I know some of y’all are probably asking, “Suzette, how do you know this?” I’m so glad you asked! 🙂
Here’s what happened. One day I noticed a patient’s chart was opened on the counter. I read the doctor’s note and noticed it was identical to mine! So, I asked the medical assistant (MA) who was at the desk, “Did he/she go see the patients?” The MA answered, “I don’t think so.”
I marched my five-foot self into the treatment room where the doctor was leaning against the sink. Not once did he/she make a move to examine the patient. Instead they walked out and into the next exam room. Y’all know I followed… The result was the same.
Oh, Lord. What was I to do? I didn’t immediately report what I witnessed because I didn’t want to jump to any conclusions. Maybe, he/she was pressed for time and had to be somewhere else. It does happen. For the next month I observed the same behavior. I knew I had to report it to my supervisor. Who reported it to her supervisor. Who reported it to hospital administration.
The reason why I reported the doctor wasn’t because he/she was committing medical fraud. Although that would have been a good reason. I reported him/her because as the covering physician it was his/her job to make sure the patient was examined by another clinician besides myself. What if the patient’s status had changed since I last examined them? (BTW, I checked on patients hourly. But that’s besides the point!) And when he/she didn’t do this it made me wonder what kind of care he/she was delivering when they saw the patients at clinic appointments?
Sickle cell patients can be fragile due to the many complications they are at risk of developing. They are constantly fighting physical challenges that interrupts their lives. And it worried me because I didn’t believe this doctor was providing the patients with the care they deserved. Anyone, who knows me know that I am crazy attached to my patients. I love them and view them as family. And we all know you don’t mess with family!
The doctor is no longer at the institution where I work . I don’t know the details why. Could it have been because I snitched? Who knows? All I know is that I would do it all over again, because at the end of the day it’s about the patient.
Fast forward several years later. I have my own panel of sickle cell patients I provide care for as their primary care provider. I work with a wonderful team consisting of a medial assistant, social worker, internal medicine physician, hematologists, and other specialists. And together we’re making lives better!
Was there a time you ever snitched? If so, would you do it again?