Thursday, October 8, 2009

Doctor Patient Confidentialty and Other Things We Don't Need in the Future

Are you a patient? Do you have a doctor? Do you possibly have a serious medical condition that you think is the sort of thing kept between you and your doctor and, perhaps, anonymously used as a teaching guide for other doctors? Well, this should set your mind at ease.

Some of you have a doctor who sat next to me one afternoon this week on the train. Obviously he had needed to leave work prior to 4:00pm to go home for something really important, otherwise he would still have been at his office, but on this, I'm sure, rare occasion, he was on the train heading home to NEW ROCHELLE or its environs.

Before him, spread out like so much actionable material, were your case files. Names included. I was not wearing my vision goggles (read eyeglasses), so I couldn't make out your names, but it was a basic medical chart and the area at the top where names go was filled in with letters that I feel confident spelled out a name. If it makes you feel any better, the address, phone, and social security number slots were also filled in. To further assuage your fears, your good doctor cares so much about you that he tales audio notes on a voice recorder about your cases. ON THE TRAIN.

Patient one, you have been prescribed phenobarbital, I'm assuming because you have seizures. Patient two, you have been taking betaseron which, until I looked it up, I thought had perhaps been invented by the writers of the West Wing, but which, apparently, is a real drug used to treat relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (itself, also a real thing, and not just something given to President Bartlet - I do love when smart TV does research) which I guess you have. Given these two separate pieces of information, I'm going to guess the good doctor is a NEUROLOGIST or NEUROSURGEON, though he didn't seem the surgeon type.

Now, I understand that sometimes a turkey sandwich and porn are preferable to the office and a hardworking doctor needs to rush home for both, but here's the part I am less sympathetic to: dear doctor, YOU SAW I WAS EAVESDROPPING! You saw me, you knew I was listening to what you were saying into your recorder. Rather than stop, which wouldn't have erased the wrongs you had already committed, but might have slightly ameliorated them, you continued, not wanting your job responsibilities to cut into your sandwich and porn time, albeit slightly less audibly. You continued discussing your patients' private information in the middle of a rush hour train. While seated next to someone actively attempting to overhear you.

So now let's discuss some things about you, in case your patients ever stumble across this and want to switch doctors:
  • Works at Weill Cornell Medical College, or at least has their letterhead (I couldn't find anyone I was 100% sure was him on the website, so rather than libel or slander, I'll stick with what I do know)
  • Lives in the vicinity of New Rochelle
  • Is observantly Jewish enough to wear a yarmulke on the train
  • Has quite big feet
  • Kind of looks like Ted Danson

Much like the kids with the cellphone cameras targeted the perverts on subways, this is a wake-up call for idiots who consider public transportation a private facility. Your office is private, your home is private, hell, even the bathroom on the Metro North can be considered private. The three-across seats on the local to Stamford? NOT PRIVATE. I hope you have malpractice insurance and/or already own your home outright.

No comments:

Post a Comment