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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 (21-30):
by on Feb. 6, 2013 at 6:43 PM
I don't think so she didn't post any personal info and even drs are entitled to vent
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by Turtle on Feb. 6, 2013 at 6:43 PM

Fired ... No. She didn't use any names or anything. All that should happen is a good lecture.

by on Feb. 6, 2013 at 6:47 PM
No. She didn't do anything but vent. She wasn't serious. No patient info was given.
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by on Feb. 6, 2013 at 6:47 PM

I'm sure she knows better now... and as for the patient, shame on her for being habitually and consistently late to her appointments. i'm pretty sure my docs will charge me for an appt. cancellation and then make me reschedule for a new one. in any case, the doc was obviously being sarcastic... and you know what? my OB/GYN didn't even make it to the birth of my daughter. the ER doc delivered her AND THEN was the one who checked in on us later. needless to say, i changed docs...

by on Feb. 6, 2013 at 6:48 PM
They need to learn what HIPAA is then.
Giving identifying patient info is HIPAA violation. This isn't even close

Quoting emilysmom8:

 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.

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by on Feb. 6, 2013 at 6:52 PM
She didnt violate hippa. She shouldn't be fired. I don't think what she said was unprofessional. Maybe unprofessional to post it on fb but there are all types of boards where healthcare providers and other professionals vent online.
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by on Feb. 6, 2013 at 6:53 PM

No...she gave no name or personal information...

and you know... she's frustrated.... while facebook may not be the ideal place to vent something like this... she doesn't deserve to be fired or anything... 

by on Feb. 6, 2013 at 6:54 PM
Oh Jesus I doubt she was seriously considering showing up late for a delivery. People need to chill out.
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by on Feb. 6, 2013 at 6:56 PM

 I don't think it's so much that she left the persons name out. I think it's the fact that she is putting her self in the image of a professional who would stoop to this level of bad mouthing ANY person she see's in her office.

Doesn't matter if she left the name out. She is still down talking one of her patients, and that's enough to make me not want to see a doctor like that.

by on Feb. 6, 2013 at 7:00 PM

 She should have lost her appointments. I know that my doctors office has a policy that if you are more than 15 (I think) minutes late they cancle your appointment. It isn't fair to the doc or the other patients who get delayed because of her.
However the doctor made a mistake. She shouldn't have posted that. But no she shouldn't lose her job, thats ridiculous.

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