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Doctors Providing Protestors with Medical Notes


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Kind of in a hurry at the moment but I thought it might be interesting to ask what you all think of this issue. Is it legitimate protest for doctors to write medical notes to legitimize sick leave for protesting teachers?

 

I'm concerned about the precedent. I kinda understand it, but it seems like a bad idea because it undermines the honor-system nature of sick notes, and puts doctors in a position of lying as a political protest. Do we really want doctors to be lying?

 

If you like the idea, ask yourself if you would approve of their actions if the notes they wrote supported abortion protests. Fair is fair, right?

 

Seems like dangerous ground to me. What do you all think?

 

Some background here:

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=41928

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I'm sick of the actions of my government.

 

What's the issue?

 

And I'm, amused by the fair and balanced coverage

"highly compensated union friends"

" fraudulent medical excuses"

"Fraudulent paperwork "

and so on.

Seriously, can they prove that the assertion that "the protesters “appeared to be suffering from stress.” " is false?

If not they might want to b careful who they accuse of fraud.

 

Perhaps as interesting a question is to ask why the doctors are acting in this way. On the whole they are intelligent, well educated, wealthy and so on. If they are prepared to do this then perhaps you should look at what led them to that decision.

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I'm sick of the actions of my government.

 

What's the issue?

 

And I'm, amused by the fair and balanced coverage

"highly compensated union friends"

" fraudulent medical excuses"

"Fraudulent paperwork "

and so on.

Seriously, can they prove that the assertion that "the protesters appeared to be suffering from stress. " is false?

If not they might want to b careful who they accuse of fraud.

 

Perhaps as interesting a question is to ask why the doctors are acting in this way. On the whole they are intelligent, well educated, wealthy and so on. If they are prepared to do this then perhaps you should look at what led them to that decision.

 

So the ends justify the means?

 

What if they were writing sick notes for abortion clinic protesters? Would you be okay with that too?

 

Also I wonder if it's fraud. If the employees aren't sick, and IF they're getting paid for that time off (which is not always the case), then it would seem to be theft based on a lie.

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Seriously, can they prove that the assertion that "the protesters "appeared to be suffering from stress." " is false?

If a doctor/psychiatrist legitimately thinks that the stress of missing the protest is sufficient reason not to go to work, I don't see why it would be malpractice. However, I can't imagine that it is therapeutic to spend your day off at a protest about the cause of your stress. But then maybe it would be very good therapy, idk.

 

How would you feel about doctor's writing notes excusing students from classes and exams when it stresses them out too much to show up, like say because they had a very therapeutic social event that would have to be missed to study for the exam or show up for class? I suppose it actually makes sense, as contradictory it may seem to values that emphasize personal sacrifice as part of performing ones duties.

 

Personally, I don't think kids/people should get out of bed on a cold winter morning if the value of their work doesn't exceed the cost of heating their school or workplace, but maybe that's unrelated. Actually, I think it is related because isn't a doctor's note to excuse people from work/school ultimately a prescription to stay in bed for health reasons? Economic reasons are arguably not directly health-related though. Maybe there needs to be economic doctors to write these kinds of notes instead of putting it all on medical doctors. What would that do to universal health-care costs?

 

 

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Yah fair enough, some psychology experts might be able to split some hairs there. And their review boards can decide if those doctors are practicing medicine appropriately to their profession. I'm fine with that. The ones writing notes for people saying that they have the flu when they don't, however, is anothe matter.

 

But this is the main concern:

 

Discussing the notion that striking teachers will use these doctor notes to screw the taxpayers out of paid sick leave, he snorts, I'll wager any complaining school board official will be a registered Republican. He labors mightily to make excuses for these weary warriors who carried their patient advocacy too far, and insists that suspension or revocation of medical licenses would be quite a disproportionate response to the actual harm involved in this high-profile infraction of professional ethics.

(That was from the article I linked earlier.)

 

Fine, no problem. Now turn it around. The protest in question is an abortion clinic, and the doctors are right-to-life. Now the "complaining officials" are going to be "registered Democrats". Will they support the right of doctors to write such notes? I don't think they will.

 

This is no different from the problem raised by Democrats fleeting the state to avoid a vote. Democrats complained when Republicans fled the state of Texas to avoid a redistrictin vote, but now they seem to think it's a capital idea. I think that's very poor reasoning.

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This is quite unethical on the part of these Doctors. IIRC there is supposed to be a very high mark for ethical practices in maintaining one's license to practice medicine. The reason a Doctor's note is accepted is because of this expected responsibility on part of the issuing party. Abusing the system afforded to workers to avoid the misfortunes of working while sick is an attack on the very acceptance of such allowances.

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This is quite unethical on the part of these Doctors. IIRC there is supposed to be a very high mark for ethical practices in maintaining one's license to practice medicine. The reason a Doctor's note is accepted is because of this expected responsibility on part of the issuing party. Abusing the system afforded to workers to avoid the misfortunes of working while sick is an attack on the very acceptance of such allowances.

But who has the authority to question these doctors' diagnosis? Don't they need a second opinion from another doctor? Or can they undermine a doctor's authority on the basis of common sense? Oh the anarchy!

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"This is no different from the problem raised by Democrats fleeting the state to avoid a vote."

Yes it is. Doctors are not politicians.

 

The question about the abortion issue is a red herring unless you can actually find some doctors who would do that.

 

"Actually, I think it is related because isn't a doctor's note to excuse people from work/school ultimately a prescription to stay in bed for health reasons?"

No, it's a prescription not to go to work for health reasons.

 

I note nobody has answered my question; why are these well paid, intelligent people supporting this action?

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"This is no different from the problem raised by Democrats fleeting the state to avoid a vote."

Yes it is. Doctors are not politicians.

So you believe, then, that they're handing out these notes for reasons that have nothing whatsoever to do with politics? That all of the recipients are legitimately ill?

 

The question about the abortion issue is a red herring unless you can actually find some doctors who would do that.

You don't think there are doctors who oppose abortion? Interesting.

 

I note nobody has answered my question; why are these well paid, intelligent people supporting this action?

That's because you're asking the wrong question. The right question is, "Why are these well paid, intelligent people undermining their professional authority to commit fraud for the sake of a political belief?"

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I'm concerned about the precedent.

 

Precedent? Like this sort of thing has never happened before? Orchestrated sick leave as a form of protest is nothing new. I can't imagine getting a note based on nothing more than "can you write me a note?" is, either. However, that doesn't make it right. I think it goes against proper ethics.

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I am not aware of relevant laws in the USA, so I will only give my opinion: I think these doctors should be punished for unprofessional behaviour.

 

I think that these doctors make a mistake. In the Netherlands, it's a purely voluntary action to strike or to demonstrate (you receive no pay, but you also lose no holiday). Unions might compensate this financially although you almost never receive the equivalent of a full working day. In other words, (at least in the Netherlands) there is already adequate regulation for people who wish to demonstrate, timewise and financially. These doctors have no need to do this.

 

In addition, I agree with Pangloss that is also undermines the trustworthiness of the entire profession.

 

They should organize the protest in the weekend, so that everybody has enough time.

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So you believe, then, that they're handing out these notes for reasons that have nothing whatsoever to do with politics? That all of the recipients are legitimately ill?

 

 

You don't think there are doctors who oppose abortion? Interesting.

 

 

That's because you're asking the wrong question. The right question is, "Why are these well paid, intelligent people undermining their professional authority to commit fraud for the sake of a political belief?"

I believe that doctors may be amateur politicians, but politicians are professional politicians. That's the difference.

I think there are probably doctors who think all sorts of things.

When you find some at an anti abortion rally giving out notes then it will stop being a red herring.

It's the same question with a different spin.

They act this way; why?

 

Incidentally, the right to strike in the Netherlands may be protected but it isn't in the UK and it may not be in the US ( the article suggests not).*

It's possible that the doctors feel that, in this instance, two wrongs make a right.

 

* The article in the OP says "many of them “could be in violation of their work contracts if they call out sick without a medical excuse.”"

If these people are claiming to be sick, rather than on strike then it's puzzling. They would do a better job of publicising their case with a strike. Why have they chosen not to do this? It could be that they would rather get sick pay- but it could be that they know there are penalties for striking that don't apply to sick leave.

Does anyone know what the rules of organising a strike in the USA are.

Edited by John Cuthber
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But who has the authority to question these doctors' diagnosis? Don't they need a second opinion from another doctor? Or can they undermine a doctor's authority on the basis of common sense? Oh the anarchy!

Well, if the doctor writes a note saying, "Frank is severely ill with diarrhea and can't make it to work," and Frank is standing in a large crowd in a protest, I think the doctor's diagnosis can be easily questioned.

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I am not aware of relevant laws in the USA, so I will only give my opinion: I think these doctors should be punished for unprofessional behaviour.

 

I think that these doctors make a mistake. In the Netherlands, it's a purely voluntary action to strike or to demonstrate (you receive no pay, but you also lose no holiday). Unions might compensate this financially although you almost never receive the equivalent of a full working day. In other words, (at least in the Netherlands) there is already adequate regulation for people who wish to demonstrate, timewise and financially. These doctors have no need to do this.

 

In addition, I agree with Pangloss that is also undermines the trustworthiness of the entire profession.

 

They should organize the protest in the weekend, so that everybody has enough time.

Exactly.

 

What about the working mother on minimum wage who has to skip work to take care of her kids because their teacher thinks it's more important to protest than to teach? Do they get a sick note too?

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Exactly.

 

What about the working mother on minimum wage who has to skip work to take care of her kids because their teacher thinks it's more important to protest than to teach? Do they get a sick note too?

 

I completely agree with you, Pangloss. I don't care if the doctors protest or not, but I do not think they should be abusing their occupations like that. In my mind, it's equivalent to a cop getting rid of a friend's speeding ticket. Highly unethical.

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Well, if the doctor writes a note saying, "Frank is severely ill with diarrhea and can't make it to work," and Frank is standing in a large crowd in a protest, I think the doctor's diagnosis can be easily questioned.

 

Not necessarily. Doctors frequently rely on self-reported symptoms, and some symptoms can be induced (eg laxatives for diarrhea). However, eventually it would add up to a lying doctor with enough such coincidences. And in any case it certainly shows the employee to be a big liar.

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Incidentally, what are the teachers protesting about?

Compensation. They don't think they get paid enough, and they don't want to accept cutbacks.

 

Which it is absolutely their right to do. Just not while they're supposed to be in the classroom. If I were to do that I would be fired. Why should they get special treatment just because they have a louder voice?

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Exactly.

 

What about the working mother on minimum wage who has to skip work to take care of her kids because their teacher thinks it's more important to protest than to teach? Do they get a sick note too?

That's another question altogether, and it touches upon the fundamental right to protest and to go on strike.

Going on strike always has consequences for other people... and that should NOT be a reason not to go on strike, unless lives are at stake. (At least, that is how us socialist Europeans think about it ;) ).

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Well that's why I felt it was relevant here, because they're not actually on strike, they're supposedly working, getting paid because they're "out sick" or whatever.

 

But there's probably a lot of media inflation in that -- perhaps most of them are being straight-up about it, stating that they're not coming in because they're going to the protest and assuming (correctly, I hope) that they won't be paid for those absences. The news stories I've seen are too busy telling me how exciting it all is to answer such an uninteresting question. (lol)

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Compensation. They don't think they get paid enough, and they don't want to accept cutbacks.

 

 

No, the union was willing to accept the cutbacks. The fight is over the attempt to strip them of their collective bargaining rights.

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No, the union was willing to accept the cutbacks. The fight is over the attempt to strip them of their collective bargaining rights.

That's one way of putting it. Here's another: The fight is over the attempt to limit the power of non-government organizations to control the budget process.

 

The the editorial position of the Chicago Tribune, entitled "Lost: The Common Good":

 

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-02-17/news/ct-edit-union-20110217_1_public-sector-unions-largest-teachers-union-safer-workplaces

 

Walker wants government officials to have authority to reshape public-employee benefits without collective bargaining. Walker wouldn't remove the right of unions to bargain for wages.

 

No, he is not seeking to eliminate unions, though you might get that impression from the heated rhetoric of the employees and even from President Barack Obama, who called this an "assault on unions."

 

Walker is trying to give Wisconsin a reality check. In response, public workers have interrupted the Legislature. Madison and many neighboring public schools have closed because so many teachers called in sick and left to join the protest. Democratic lawmakers disappeared on Thursday to stall a vote on the budget measures. Apparently some of them fled to … Illinois.

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Perhaps the doctors have realised that, in terms of health, about the worst thing that can happen to you is poverty and the second worst (since it amounts to the same thing ) is a poor education.

Perhaps they were engaging in social medicine; a bit like the ban on smoking in public places.

We don't let you smoke on the train because it's bad for the other people there.

We don't let you cut the salaries of the teachers because it reduces that chances of the next generation getting a proper education.

 

"If I were to do that I would be fired."

Then elect a better government; one that grants you the right to decide whether you work or not..

 

"Why should they get special treatment just because they have a louder voice? "

that's what passes for democracy.

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About the protest, it seems someone managed to prank call Gov. Walker while impersonating David Koch. You can listen to the conversation here. He didn't say anything particularly damning though, despite of course what the excerpts would suggest. But I think you get to hear what the guy honestly thinks.

 

Now, according to this, the reason the Democrats fled was to allow the bill more exposure. Now I'm not too familiar with this, but introducing the bill and wanting it passed 4 days later seems a bit rushed compared to the glacial pace the government normally works. I mean, the bill seems to be quite important, but not really urgent. How long would it be reasonable to be discussing the bill? Of course, I'm sure the Democrats are gaining themselves some political capital by allowing for more media coverage of the protests.

 

Anyhow, here is the bill in question (SB-13):

http://legis.wiscons.../data/SB-13.pdf

Honestly I can't make much sense of it at first glance. Anyone know what the problem is?

 

The bill seems to be modifying some of the statutes. Here is the first of those:

http://docs.legis.wi...es/111/V/84/2/c

 

What is really odd is that I never saw anyone mention the bill by its proper name. I had to looke it up for myself in the Wisconsin Senate records.

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