As a physician, all the mounting negative news I read about doctors can’t help but hit me straight in the gut. This is especially true when reading about a tragic murder of a sweet and highly dedicated 32-year-old physician, Dr. Tracy Sin-Yee Tam and the serious injuries to five other physicians on June 30th at NYC’s Bronx Lebanon Hospital. Can you blame me for advocating for my esteemed colleagues? Everybody’s “Lives” seem to “matter” — what about physicians’ lives?
Don’t the ones who dedicate their own lives to saving others at least deserve to have their own lives matter? Seems not. Those who would benefit from the ever-growing imperfections and corruptions in health care the most, are the ones who can never succeed without a “fall guy (or gal)” who are usually doctors. So for a while now, I did the old fashioned “follow the money trail” analysis when I read any article involving just how bad, dishonest, corrupt and rich doctors are. The worse the stories are, the more deceitful the motives and true crimes they hide to blind the public and protect the real culprits.
Yet, it’s good for “them” to make our nation’s physicians look bad and disrespect them in every way they can — even in this tragic event where Tracy’s name or story is hardly mentioned.
Where’s the courageous investigative reporting curiosity to learn more about such a dedicated and loving young physician? I think she deserves a front-page Time cover with “Are we Murdering our Doctors?” or “Cream of Crop Physician Murdered in Cold Blood: Where Have We Gone Wrong? ” at the very least.
Where’s any notion of a human-interest story about a genuine and dedicated hero to our profession?
Perhaps Hippocrates (who as of late, physicians are encouraged to shun) answered this 2,400 years ago when he wrote: ”Wherever the art of medicine is loved, here is also a love of humanity.”
I’m not a PI, former military or conspiratorial type. In fact, I have over 30 years of looking at the “heart of the matter” experience — I’m a cardiologist in North Jersey and love my job. I write about this because literally “enough is enough” and no one seems to be speaking out.
I thank God how “fake news” is finally starting to be unmasked for the very real dangers it creates. I can remember at least the last 10 years of “fake news” going unquestioned and being authoritarian (government and corporate supported — this is hopefully changing slowly, not without conflicts as is expected). It’s just that I can no longer stand by quietly and let one of its greatest victims — physicians — be silenced or forgotten. Did anyone look up the salaries and bonuses of large fake media outlets employees or their owners who make multi-billion to trillion dollars lying to you every single day? If a doctor mistakenly over charges or is caught lying, that physician can be prosecuted and most often jailed. Why the double standards? No question just like any other human beings there are greedier and more desperate physicians. But why do they have to be the scapegoats for the real gougers of our society? Are these “financial winners” the ones who take 24-hour calls or do charitable care and save lives? I guess doctors are too busy, flooded with toxic administrative demands, and dedicated taking care of everyone else; especially those in private practice that they make easy and convenient “fake news” and scapegoating targets. If a news reporter is insulted there’s always a big commotion yet when a doctor is killed? Cold silence. Just read the “lack” of Tracy’s tragic murder coverage. It’s almost like that wasn’t even relevant to the story.
I lost it when reading about a former, disgruntled, Lebanon NYC physician, who was living in a homeless shelter (so much for “rich” doctors) who was obviously not dealing with a full deck, returned after being fired to kill the wrong physician and injured seven others. Suddenly, the story continued to unfurl.
Nothing or very little was said about a sweet innocent angelic young doctor whose family emigrated to our shores for hope of a better life and who was just working someone else shift, filling in out of kindness rewarded by being the victim of the death bullet only a few days before we celebrated July 4th. No, instead, all the focus centered around a “crazed physician” and greedy doctors who were getting $60 for each new patient (to bump Medicaid payments by the state) by a dishonest CEO whose income and bonuses in the millions the media chose to somehow highlight these greedy doctors otherwise known as medical scapegoating. Are you supposed to believe that $60 for each new patient they brought to the hospital would make them rich? You can make more money working part time as a janitor, nurse’s aide or just parking cars? So that’s the money trail and the truth the fake news finds unworthy of mention.
That’s how the art of scapegoating partnered with fake news keeps the public in the dark while the real criminals go unmentioned, unscathed and continue their crimes.
I would like to see a formal apology to the family of Dr. Tan from all the beneficiaries of this corrupt institution and their beneficiaries (I noted) and generously compensate her family. In addition, we need to pass a “Physician’s Bill of Rights and Protection” the Dr. Tracy Tam bill. In addition to so many being murdered, overworked and abused, their burnout and suicide rates are one of the highest in our nation.
It’s time to stop physician bullying and mistreatment by our government, health insurers, others and stop scapegoating them at every single opportunity. Dr. Tam deserved better and would have wanted that for herself and her colleagues. What about the working conditions that caused Dr. Bello to snap? Mayor De Blasio relegates it as “work related violence.” If it was some guy on a military base, it would be politically correct and blessed with intense counseling interventions to follow. Or if it happened on campuses or anywhere else our government would send investigators, support structures and counseling for the entire staff and community and dedicated millions in researching just what caused such a tragic chain of events. Perhaps even see how it could assist physicians during such tragic times; that’s a joke, when Dr. Tan’s name is hardly even mentioned! Mark my words there will be no such interventions — at least not benefiting physicians. When it comes to doctors; it’s “Crazed Physician Kills Woman.”
In fact, depicting physicians as heroes or victims and highly humanistic is never good for fake news about us. In this story, what stands out is the actual $60 each doctor was supposedly paid. Why don’t you arrest them all and close the hospital? They might have if they were private practice physicians, but to close a hospital (money trail) would mean lost megabucks for the real gougers. Did you know that an almost majority of practices are hospital owned today? Did you know that these hospitals are doing booming “business” (a taboo word for doctors) expanding like there’s no tomorrow? Do you know why? Because they earn an average of 400 to 500 percent on each physician they bought/employ who are “commanded” to order enough CT and MRI scans, do procedures and “over utilize” the system; lest they find another job.
From the media outlets, I reviewed the victim was described as a ‘woman” and later “as simply a physician.” I could find only one article dated July 1st, reported by the New York Post that wrote anything about Dr. Tam as a human being. I was pleased to read how this unusual media coverage perhaps represented the hope of truth in reporting being resuscitated after all. Quoted by a “friend” as saying this 32-year-old physician was the closest human being to an angel I have ever met.”
This is a moral assassination not only on physicians but on the memory of this modern-day healing “angel,” Dr. Tracy-Sin Tam. Shame on you! Most headlines read “Crazed Physician” not “Greedy Hospital Administrator” or “tragic loss of wonderful young physician”? That speaks of the magnanimity of the real crimes these headlines hide and the cold accomplices the former find in a dispassionate and often fake news media. Though I never had the pleasure of meeting Tracy, my heart goes out to the family who raised such a wonderful human being and hope her inspiring memory will gradually help change the face of a sorely ailing medical culture.
Michael Weiss is a physician.
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