Physicians were once "captains of the ship" but now routinely face defiance

LETTER — Posted Dec. 13, 2004

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Regarding "Staff less tolerant of rude doctors" (Article, Sept. 20): Your article is a disservice to the medical profession.

The physician is no longer captain of the ship, he is a prisoner on the ship. What evokes rudeness is very obvious. Decline in nursing and patient care, gross defiance of the physicians promoted by nonphysician executives and hospital board members.

The physician's life is run by HMOs, third-party payers, regulatory agencies, trial lawyers, licensing bodies, politicians and innumerable power seekers.

If nonphysician caregivers just do their jobs to the satisfaction of the patients and the physicians, we shall have a very harmonious, constructive relationship with all the stakeholders. Let us go back to the fundamentals -- physicians are the primary advocates for the patients and the public. This sacred right of the physicians is being usurped by nonphysicians.

We have an obligation to see that the physician-captain of the ship is not shackled to the detriment of the patients.

Bipin N. Bhayani, MD, Kankakee, Ill.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2004/12/13/edlt1213.htm.

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