June 30, 2009
There should be a litmus test for ethics and integrity so that the landscape of our country could look vastly different. There would be no healthcare crisis, no financial collapse, no housing foreclosures or unnecessary deaths because of pain medication addiction. The misfits seeking positions of power would be duly eliminated before they created havoc.
The death of Michael Jackson documented an ever expanding reality that gives me great pain: some doctors will do anything for the pursuit of money, even at the expense of human life.
During the course of my medical career, I have witnessed and have had to report colleagues who have crossed the line for the sake of their bank accounts. The colleague who supplied his cocaine habit by doing unnecessary surgery and fraudulent Medicaid billing. The physician who paid his cronies on a per-patient-basis and turned a public funded healthcare facility into a money making factory. The “deals” made by colleagues that violate conflicts of interests. Hippocrates is probably rolling over in his grave.
I will not write fictitious sick notes, fraudulent disability claims, fill prescriptions for people without a medical chart and am fiercely protective of my DEA license. My medical degree is not for sale. There are times when I have not been the most popular physician among my colleagues but at least I can sleep at night. I wonder if the physicians of Heath Ledger, Anna Nicole Smith and Michael Jackson can do the same.
The seduction of money comes with a heavy price. Just ask Michael Millikan, Ivan Boesky, or perhaps, the clients of Bernie Madoff. Dr. Deepak Chopra had the courage to say “no” to Michael Jackson, despite his celebrity. I only wish more of my colleagues would have the decency to do the same.