By Lawrence Huntoon, MD, PhD
“The Flynn Entrapment” in today’s Wall Street Journal details the “ugly tactics employed by James Comey’s FBI.”
This is precisely the same dirty tactic that is used by hospital administrators and “medical staff leaders” in conducting a sham peer review.
It is the so-called informal, friendly meeting where the target is told that there is no need to have an attorney present, or no attorney is needed because it is merely a collegial, informal meeting.
Hospital administrations/medical staff leaders will often offer the explanation that they don’t want to make the meeting “adversarial” by having attorneys representing both sides at the meeting – it’s just a “nice friendly discussion doctor to doctor.”
This is, of course, the “Ambush Tactic” whereby everyone else at the meeting except the targeted physician knows who will be there and what the meeting will be about, with an agenda to launch an attack (sham peer review) against the doctor.
Aside from the ambush nature of the tactic, which is designed to make the doctor look guilty while he fumbles to recall details of a patient treatment/encounter in the remote past, a record he has not had the opportunity to review prior to the meeting with hospital officials – no opportunity to provide a defense, the other danger is in the lopsided numbers at the meeting (i.e. several officials representing the hospital
sitting across the table from a single targeted physician).
Should hospital officials/medical staff leaders decide to lie about what the doctor said or allegedly admitted to, it is 3 to 4 against 1 unless the doctor had the foresight to legally record the meeting via concealed recorder. This is, of course, legal only in one-party states.
In addition, so as to disadvantage the targeted physician, the hospital may forbid the physician from bringing a attorney to the meeting. When a hospital is planning to violate a physician’s due process rights, the last thing they want is the doctor’s attorney sitting next to the doctor acting to protect due process rights.
Even when a physician is told he or she “cannot bring a lawyer” to the “informal, friendly” meeting, the doctor should show up at the meeting with an attorney and a court reporter.
The court reporter can record everything that is said, most importantly the hospital’s refusal to allow the physician representation of an attorney, and the doctor’s attorney’s strong objection thereto.
This then can be used as evidence of how the hospital sought to deprive a physician of due process rights if and when the matter reaches a real court of law.
Just two days ago, I received a call on our AAPS Sham Peer Review Hotline dealing with this very issue. It is something that happens often.