This morning, I got quite a commentÂ onÂ the PGR 2.3. Flea has been unmasked in a newspaper. I was floored.Â Then I got angry. Not at Flea, but at the plaintiff’s lawyer.Â What a spinÂ chick. This is why so many of us hate litigation lawyers.Â TheyÂ get gain by harming people.Â Of course, this makes themÂ the natural predator and foe of doctors.
From the article, : “[Mulvey] was appalled that readers in the blogosphere who knew little or nothing about the case rallied to his defense.”Â
Actually, Alison, whose comment gave me the news,Â sounds pretty much likeÂ the lawyer in the newspaper articleÂ andÂ what I expect commentsÂ of people who never read Flea’s blog to be, so I’ll address her directly since she chose to share her opinion so well and succinctly.Â Â Â
“Iâ€™m appalled by the comments Iâ€™ve read supporting Flea in his litigation – by people who donnâ€™t know what the litigation was about, and didnâ€™t bother to check.”Â
Â It is you and it will sadly be the general public,Â who do notÂ understand the nature of Flea’s blogging. He was anonymous. We could not check. But Flea’s articles, sharp as they’d sometimes been,Â had alwaysÂ consisted of sound science. Moreso, the frustration he often expressed was a mark of his compassion for the children under his care.Â In the blogging world, he was a model of integrity and compassion.Â Â
If you accuse ofÂ bloggers who defendedÂ him ofÂ ‘not having the whole picture’, you must accuse yourself of the same thing.
To the lawyer, Mulvey,Â who claims to have read his entire blog: where is your integrity? Is it truth or power that you love? Is it compassion or money?
Let me ask you: Does the family have their little boy back? Are they healed now? Do they feel better about the loss?
This isn’t win/win. Only aÂ litigation lawyer who knew it was a weak case would say that. It’s lose/lose.
Flea was being sued for medical malpractice for failing to diagnose diabetes in one of his 12 year-old patients, who died within six weeks.
I cannot comment specifically onÂ the misdiagnosis, because I am not a medical professional.Â I am sure someoneÂ qualified will step up to the plate.Â However, I doÂ knowÂ know some generalizations: Diagnoses are not always obvious, even for diseases as common as diabetes. IÂ watched a “Mystery Diagnosis” show on DHC once about diagnosing a kid with diabetes. That kid went for YEARS without the diagnosis. The difference between him and the unfortunate death of the 12 year old under Flea’s care was, I am thinking, luck. My ownÂ dad went for years without being diagnosed. Okay, so I did get specific. But I might be wrong and I’ll wait for better experts. The point is, the outcome could notÂ have been predicted and it appears from the news article that Flea saw him only once regarding the symptoms that allegedly diabetes could have been diagnosed from, and six weeks later the boy died. For that, heÂ was being sued?
Hindsight is 20/20. Flea did his best with this child, under the apparently very limitedÂ circumstances he had.Â One cannot fault the doctor for a stroke of bad luck.
That boy lost his life, and a family lost their son. During the trial, Flea blogged about the trial, ridiculing the plaintiff, the plaintiffâ€™s lawyers and the jurors.
We are aware of that. We read the posts.Â We did not know specifics, (that would have been unethical) but we read not only his angst with the trial, but the fact that he feltÂ awful about the death of this child.Â DidÂ you read that, Alison and lawyer?Â And now that it is down, no one in the general public will read it, but we know.Â
In my opinion thatâ€™s a tragedy that makes Flea at best a jerk, and at worst a dangerous doctor.
What do you think goes on in the head of doctor’s being sued when they know they did everything they could have? When they, themselves can see the diagnosis 20/20 and are devastated? Do you think they are as calm as the demeanor imposed on them by their role?Â Do you think they appreciate the smack down they are getting? Do you think they don’t get frustrated when people misconstrue everything in order to get money? Do you think the face they must show the jury and public reflects what is really going on inside of them? Do you think they like the lawyer who is there to take them down or the jury who isn’t paying attention?
Do you think they aren’t human?
Flea was not arrogant. People too often mistake anger and frustration for arrogance. From the facts that I can gather, Flea is not dangerous, either. That is an emotional overreaction that will only harm him andÂ the community he serves.Â
No, Flea’s only mistake was in blogging about it publicly and in real time. I think his intentions were good: this is what a doctor really feels and goes through when he is being sued, but the execution of itÂ was poorly thought out.
Good luck to him.