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Should this Doc lose her right to practice for this post?

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A St. Louis OB-GYN is sparking controversy after she posted negative comments about one of her patients on Facebook, according to various reports.

According to, a popular website for moms-to-be, Dr. Amy Dunbar of Mercy Medical Center posted the following on Facebook:

“So I have a patient who has chosen to either no-show or be late (sometimes hours) for all of her prenatal visits, ultrasounds, and NSTs. She is now three hours late for her induction. May I show up late for her delivery?”

Critics around the blogosphere are saying Dunbar violated the patient’s privacy – even though she never mentions the patient by name.

“I hope immediate disciplinary action is taken against each of these individuals,” Mands Glover wrote on Mercy’s Moms-to-Be Facebook page.

“The situation here is amplified because the patient is pregnant . . . (and let’s get real, there’s no way we’re okay with the delivering doctor showing up LATE to (the) baby’s birth).”

- Kylie McConville,

Another poster disagreed with Glover, saying, “The patient's name was never mentioned . . . there are still thousands of women that match that description.”

A person known as “Jan” wrote this on Greta van Susteren’s blog GretaWire: "I have a solution. Give the inconsiderate patient the last appointment of the day. When she shows up 3 hours late, the office will have been closed for hours, and no one will be there. Problem solved.”

Kylie McConville, who wrote the article on, said, “The situation here is amplified because the patient is pregnant, and the doctor is the one responsible for delivering the baby (and let’s get real, there’s no way we’re okay with the delivering doctor showing up LATE to (the) baby’s birth).”

Hospital reacts

Mercy has not fired Dunbar, but released the following statement:

“Our physician leadership has already called Dr. Dunbar. Her comments were definitely inappropriate. We are also reviewing them to determine if they violated privacy issues, etc. That process requires a more thorough review, but we will determine the appropriate response as quickly as possible. In the meantime, know that our physician organization holds its members to the highest standards and strives to improve our service and clinical care through that process.”

Mercy’s statement said its privacy compliance staff did not find the posting to be a breach of privacy; but the hospital added it will use this opportunity to educate its staff about the appropriate use of social media.

“…We are very sorry that this incident occurred,” according to Mercy’s statement, which appeared on several news sites, including KMOV.

Dr. Manny Alvarez, senior managing health editor of, said the doctor should have had a private discussion with her patient.

“The answer is not to get mad at the patient or to launder your frustrations in public,” said Alvarez, who is also the chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey.

“As a doctor, our role is to heal the sick – but also educate them,” Alvarez said. “One of the biggest challenges I have as an OB-GYN is to make my point on the significance of a good relationship between a pregnant woman and her obstetrician. This has to start very early in the relationship.”

Alvarez said he has found most patients understand the importance of prenatal visits rather quickly – but in the case they do not comply with the doctors, then it may be time to find a new one.

“If, for whatever reason, there is a lack of compliance, then you can help the patient find another physician, so she can get the care she feels she may not be getting from you,” he added. added the patient may have a valid reason for being routinely late, which is why a private discussion is that much more important.

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by on Feb. 6, 2013 at 6:08 PM
Replies (11-20):
by Silver Member on Feb. 6, 2013 at 6:30 PM

I think it's unprofessional, but I don't think she deserves to get fired for it.

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by Dawn on Feb. 6, 2013 at 6:30 PM

 I work in a hospital and we are told we can not talk about patients at all (even if we dont use names) if we do it can be a HIPPA violation.

by on Feb. 6, 2013 at 6:33 PM

She didnt say the name so I dont see a problem with it. And most places will not see you if you come 3 hourse late. Some places will even "kick you out" when you come late 3 times. If this person always came late up to 3 hours, why is she surprised that shes now late as well....

by Ruby Member on Feb. 6, 2013 at 6:34 PM

It was unprofessional and she should be counseled on it. Most medical facilites have strict rules about such. My sister is a nurse she can't just make comments about patients, even without names. It is not accepted as professional.  

by Bronze Member on Feb. 6, 2013 at 6:35 PM

She didn't mention any names and the reality is she may have made it up to be funny and no such patient even exists. How about we worry about why someone would be that late for an induction appointment. It's your baby's birth and you can't get there even close to on time, WTF!

by on Feb. 6, 2013 at 6:37 PM

She is walking a very fine line with regards to HIPPA laws, but since she never said the patient's name, she didnt technically break any laws. That being said, I think that since her name is all over the place, people will think twice about going to her, so this might be a self-correcting problem, and no other action will be needed. I know if I saw MY doctor posting things like this, I'd leave their practice immediately.

by Platinum Member on Feb. 6, 2013 at 6:40 PM

I am guilty of in the past, making comments about a patient, not using their name tho. Thought it was innocent talk. Now that I am in nursing school, I know better. Even without naming names, two and two can be put together and stuff leak out. EVEN a patient simular can complain, thinking it was her the doc was talking about, and the Doc CAN LOSE HER JOB.

by Member on Feb. 6, 2013 at 6:40 PM

she didn't use the name of the patient, she's allowed to have an opinion...she won't garner much sympathy considering how often patients complain about waiting on doctors.

by Platinum Member on Feb. 6, 2013 at 6:41 PM
I don't see the problem.

The Dr was late to my first delivery. She popped out and about 3 min later he waltzed into the room. He was the on call and he was a prick.
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by on Feb. 6, 2013 at 6:42 PM
1 mom liked this

I don't see a problem with what the doc posted ~ she didn't mention any names, and the description could be applied to almost any patient. I took the statement about showing up late to deliver the baby as a vent.

DH has been in and out of doctor's offices a lot lately due to his back issues, and we are there at least 15 minutes early. We've sat there time and time again while patient names are called, and no one gets up or responds because that patient isn't there. Patients who are late make everyone else wait longer and they annoy me just as much as the doctors.

I won't sit and wait more than 30 minutes past an appointment time unless the staff lets me know that there was an emergency. I got billed once for not being there when they finally got around to me and I sent back my own bill ... and some Monopoly money and never heard another word about it. My time is just as valuable as the doctor's ~ but the woman this doc is venting about is abusing everyone's schedule, is inconsiderate, and should be billed accordingly if she shows up late and complains because she has to be worked into the schedule imo. I agree with the statement to give her the last appt. for the day so that if she's late, everyone will have gone home and won't be there. It might get the message across better than any lecture or even a bill.

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