Let’s get ready to rumble: Dr. Bennett and his supporters are taking the fight to the NH Board of Medicine. “. . . the members of the state Board of Medicine were sent information about one of their own, Dr. James Clifford.

The members were mailed what appears to be copies of complaints filed against Dr. James Clifford when he was an emergency room doctor at Frisbie Hospital in Rochester. The complaints were to the hospital and not the board.

Clifford was fired by the hospital in 1996 because of patient complaints, but he sued claiming he was wrongly let go. The hospital and Clifford reached a settlement in 1998 that stated ‘No ethical or clinical deficiencies relative to Dr. Clifford’s care of patients were involved in this case.’

A group of Bennett’s supporters, Supporters of Dr. Terry Bennett, sent the information about the complaints against Clifford to every member of the board last week by certified mail.”

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  • Matt Jasper

    The above is of interest to me because i am in a rumble with Frisbie Hospital, and the above is an example of how they seem constrained from dealing with complaints against physicians–yet also how they have to cover up these matters. The Joint Council of Accreditation has guidelines that promote more openness in dealing with patient complaints, yet the institutional pressures to lie to injured patients are immense. Here’s a speech I recently gave. Yes, I can back all of it up:

    This is a speech given at the Annual Frisbie Hospital Diabetes Dialogue on November 2, 2006. Though I was not an invited speaker, I made use of a recently vacated podium during the question and answer session.

    When I was finally diagnosed with type 1, late-onset diabetes, I met with a diabetes educator here and found her to be quite helpful. I appreciate that many here do excellent work in diabetes education and treatment. However, the most crucial part of diabetes treatment is the initial diagnosis that then allows treatment and education. Unfortunately, the symptoms of diabetic onset are often confusing and intermittent as the body adjusts to a malfunctioning pancreas.
    When I presented with diabetic symptoms, they went unrecorded, unrecognized, untested for, and untreated. When I finally self-diagnosed with diabetes the following year, I was literally yelled at for doing so. My doctor told me my symptoms were impossible. He said I was too young and fit for type 2 diabetes and wasn’t a child, so of course it couldn’t be childhood-onset diabetes. He smirked at me when I used the term “polydipsia” and fought my self-diagnosis aggressively.
    Because I’d been fasting on and off for two weeks to control my overwhelming thirst, I told my doctor that a fasting blood glucose test would be meaningless. I happened to know of a test that showed average blood sugar over several months. When I requested this, my doctor twice promised to add the A1C test to my bloodwork form that he then gave to his lab directly, without my having seen it. Though I later found out that the A1C was not given, I was told that my A1C test was normal. This so-called “normal” result finally convinced me that I was not diabetic. I began to eat normally again. My thirst returned, was intermittent, and then turned into depression, irritability, and fatigue. I went untreated for two more years and had organ damage, vision-loss, e.d., and autonomic neuropathy as a result. I lost my marriage and nearly lost my life. I will die early as a result of my non-treatment. I have four young children to raise, drive to violin lessons, and apologize to for the turmoil they’ve endured as a result of my poor health.
    I requested my medical records shortly after my final self-diagnosis that another doctor quickly agreed with. By then, my symptoms were overwhelming and my fasting blood sugar was 799.
    Though two years earlier, I’d reported having every diabetic symptom that I know of, none of this–except thirst my doctor attributed to coffee–appeared in my medical records when I finally saw them. I can even prove that the two records where I reported diabetic symptoms were temporarily missing from my medical file because a phone record in my file records that I was told I had never reported thirst and had only been seen three times at Family Care of Farmington. I was seen five times at that location.
    An administrator here said my doctor was under peer review and that CIGNA had ordered a mandatory diabetes training in response to my complaint. She said she completely believed me after I told her my story of aggressive and deceptive non-diagnosis. Why did she believe me? Because at least one other diabetic has complained to a department she supervises. I am in touch with her and other complainants to such a degree that I wonder why Dr. Michael Calamia continues to practice. I have had no apology from this hospital. Most contacted Frisbie employees now officially deny that anything improper happened.
    My question is this: At what point does a hospital’s responsibility to protect the community become greater than its desire to protect the doctors it employs? I know that you may not be able to answer now, yet I believe the community has a right to know that my question exists.
    My name is Matt Jasper. I will provide my medical record and supporting documentation to anyone who wants it. I believe there may be a person in this room who knows that Doctor Calamia held the inaccurate views about diabetic onset that I have described above. I urge you to truly improve this hospital by reporting your information to the State Board of Medicine.

    Matt Jasper

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