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Amy Dunbar, OB-GYN, In Hot Water After Posting Comment About Patient On Facebook (PHOTO)

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Amy Dunbar, OB-GYN, In Hot Water After Posting Comment About Patient On Facebook (PHOTO)

An OB-GYN in St. Louis is under fire after posting a Facebook status about one of her patients. According to KMOV, Amy Dunbar, a physician at Mercy Hospital, was so frustrated with an expecting mother's lateness that she ranted about it online.

facebook image

When others urged her to cancel her patient's induction, she added in the comments that she "put up" with this behavior because of a prior stillbirth. Though Dunbar didn't reveal the patient's name, controversy erupted after someone posted a screenshot of the status and the comments to the hospital's "Mercy Moms To Be" Facebook page.

Heather Tiedemann was appalled by Dunbar's behavior and posted a comment on the Facebook page:

She should not be allowed to work with patients if she callously talks about them on her own facebook page... As a woman who has had a full term still birth if I found out my doctor was posting that information on her page and other doctors were joking about it I would go straight to the top of hospital leadership to ensure this doctor was fired.

More than 50 people have "liked" Tiedemann's post, but another commenter Kerry Ann Colombo defended Dunbar stating, that she is an "amazing" doctor who "bends over backwards" for her patients. "If someone is seriously THAT late to all of their appointments I think making a sarcastic remark on facebook is no big deal in the scheme of things!" Colombo wrote.

Dunbar remains on staff, despite calls for her firing, and the hospital posted the following on Facebook:

"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."

In 2011, the Boston Globe reported on previous cases where healthcare professionals have gotten into trouble for posting information about their patients on Facebook and noted that some hospitals have begun to take precautionary measures. The Children's Hospital Boston, for example, published a six-page social media policy for its staff.

Bradley H. Crotty, a physician who has studied the use of social media in health care, told the Globe that if there's any question whether something is appropriate to share, it's better not to risk it. “We first have to put ourselves in the shoes of the patient we may be discussing and then reflect if what we’re saying is appropriate," he said.

by on Feb. 8, 2013 at 4:48 PM
Replies (11-20):
by on Feb. 8, 2013 at 5:09 PM
1 mom liked this

 I'd be frustrated if I were her too.

by Gold Member on Feb. 8, 2013 at 5:10 PM
3 moms liked this

There's nothing wrong with venting, but there's a time and a place for everything.  Facebook is not an appropriate place for venting about your work.  I don't think she should be fired, but she did show poor judgment.  I never say a single word about my job on Facebook, ever. 

by Bronze Member on Feb. 8, 2013 at 5:12 PM
1 mom liked this

I thinks it's totally inappropriate and unprofessional.

by AllieCat on Feb. 8, 2013 at 5:14 PM
1 mom liked this

Quoting eviesmom453:

I thinks it's totally inappropriate and unprofessional.

What about the patient and her actions?

I agree this doctor should have used better judgement.

by on Feb. 8, 2013 at 5:15 PM
2 moms liked this
Eh. I don't see the big deal. To be honest. If the doc needs a vent moment... As long as no personal info was shared, I'd let it go.
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by on Feb. 8, 2013 at 5:17 PM

 I do not think she should be fired. Can a doctor really be 'fired" though- or just lose hospital privledges? This is highly unlikely as doctors pay $$$$$ to hospitals to have privledges there so the hospital would be losing revenue not to mention however many other doctors that might leave if Dr. Amy gets the boot.

However- I do think it was highly unprofessional of her to discuss this on her FB page. Granted, I admit I have made statements and unsavory comments about some of my clients but never on FB! and no way it can ever get traced back to me through writings! LOL

We are all human and we get frustrated and are shocked by others' actions and behaviours just like all the rest of you. Of course we have to let off steam and vent. But I do not think FB was the place for it. 

by Milami on Feb. 8, 2013 at 5:20 PM
1 mom liked this


Quoting Veni.Vidi.Vici.:

I have a couple of friends who are physicians that can't be easily identified on the FB pages. They vent a lot.

  Same. As well as Pharmacist friends. We have a good laugh every now and then about pharmacy related vents. We never name names.

by Kelly on Feb. 8, 2013 at 5:22 PM
1 mom liked this

She didn't name the patient, so not really a big deal.

Know what I find comical though, how many times she did make patients wait for hours? When I was induced with my second child my doctor was late and I waited two hours before they started inducing me.   

by on Feb. 8, 2013 at 5:29 PM

The patient's not named, and other than her sarcastically suggesting that she show up late to delivery there wasn't really much joking about it. It was more her venting that a patient was consistently very late and her friends sympathizing, and honestly if a patient was consistently that late to her appts. and even induction I would be pretty upset too. And the part where she says that she still sees the patient because of her previous stillbirth, I take that more as a sign that regardless of how frustrated she may be she still does care and wants to do what's best for her patient and the baby's health. However, if I were her I wouldn't have been posting work related stuff on my FB page, regardless of how private it may be or what blocks or security settings she has, just because I'm always seeing things about people getting in trouble at work for what they post on-line. It's not something I would risk.

by Member on Feb. 8, 2013 at 5:35 PM
3 moms liked this
People always want a reason to raise a fuss I'd be mad too if a patient thought she was so important that she could waste MY time all the time!
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