Blogging, blaming and outing or alerting

Hello, visiting Blamers! (and thanks for the emails)

So, it appears I am the only person who’s worked out Switchbutt Dorktor‘s identity, or at least the only person who’s owned up to it.

Short summary for non-Blamers:

  1. Anonymous doctor posts a couple of rants about obstetric anaesthetic management on his blog.
  2. Said rants are filled with disdain for women in labour who don’t want pain relief, insults to midwives and doulas, and disparaging remarks about nurses with qualifications above RN, also a disturbing belief that procedural protocols and medical forms are a waste of time and energy.
  3. His sexist and arrogant tone is notied, someone passes the link to Twisty, Twisty’s obstreperal lobe generates a post.
  4. Dorktor posts condescending comment to Twisty’s post about how her blog is full of “rabid (and exceedingly retarded) lesbian manhaters”. Also insults women leaving critical comments on his blog.
  5. Twisty publishes another post asking if anybody knows who the Dorktor is.
  6. Dorktor takes down blog entirely, and gets another blogger who had made an announcement post about his blog to delete that post. Twisty updates her post to include links to cached versions of both blogs.
  7. I sleuthe and I find, and without naming him post that I know who he is.
  8. What to do now?

Here’s the deal – I found a teeny clue on one of those cached pages Twisty linked to, popped a certain search string into Google on a hunch, and bingo! Too many connections (and an identical CV to his original on his blog, before he changed the names of the institutions) to doubt the ID, and then I confirmed it by looking at the staff pages at Massachussetts General Hospital, where all the details of his residency check out (don’t you love staff pages that aren’t updated for months on end?).

I thought this was just an interesting challenge, and also thought that Twisty’s reconsideration on outing him, that it would be wrong, was the right decision. Considering my outrage over the right-wing noise machine’s hugely public attack on Marcotte/McEwen, a public outing would be most hypocritical. However, it seems that others don’t necessarily agree.

I haven’t tracked down his current place of employment yet, so passing on his posts to his supervisors to alert them to a possible liability on their hands is off the table for the moment. But when I do find him, what should I do? I’m a big fan of whistleblowers in general, as I believe the public interest is paramount, but does this rise to an occasion justifying alerting his supervisors that he needs to be watched or not?

Certainly if I was on the board of a hospital worried about medical liability exposure, his attitude towards protocols would concern me greatly, especially (as I said at IBTP) if such posts could be presented in evidence before a jury in a case where protocols had been violated. His attitude towards nursing colleagues would also concern me. But is a rant on a blog sufficient to send up a red flag? Please, share your thoughts.

For anyone actually in DC and nervous about maybe being treated by him, you don’t need a name to steer clear of any bloke who was an anaesthetics resident at MGH in 2006. You do have a right to ask about your doctor’s qualifications after all.

Categories: ethics & philosophy, gender & feminism, health

Tags: , ,

15 replies

  1. I have not followed the entire kerfuffle, but on first impression, it strikes me that it is not an instance that merits reporting to the employer. I’m thinking about it in contrast to the incident with mpage’s blog and the unpleasantness that followed. That struck me as an individual doing his job badly and the person who suffered from it relating her experience. His subsquent protest that this was somehow unfair to him held no water. In this case, as vomit-inducing as the individual is, it seems uncomfortably akin to punishing for thought crimes (of course, that’s unnecessarily generous: It’s putting thoughts into words, which can, of course, do damage and/or be an indicator of future damage), but I’d be inclined not to give him more reason to feel like a martyr.

  2. It’s largely remembering the mpage incident that’s keeping me balanced on the pointy end over this.
    I think if I found that he was actually specialising in Ob/Gyn I’d feel obliged to report him, but unless he’s taken a hard turn since his residency then he’s not an Ob/Gyn.
    His fatuous objection on another blog that he wasn’t misogynist, his critics were the misogynists because he was dissing all certificated nurses, and some nurses are men, so there! along with the stupid comment at Twisty’s place keep me dangling with the option, though. That level of obtuseness about his own prejudices can’t be good.

  3. I think if I found that he was actually specialising in Ob/Gyn I’d feel obliged to report him, but unless he’s taken a hard turn since his residency then he’s not an Ob/Gyn.
    I go completely back and forth in thinking about it.
    During the height of the mpage stuff, it was suggested in house that perhaps we should all just let it go as it was not fair on the person who’d failed so egregiously in his job to have it ever hanging over his head. At that time I felt (and I still do) that there wasn’t any unfairness in it: Whatever negative results were deserved. It was not as though the unpleasantness were about something unrelated (he dislikes puppies, he’s a shit to his mother, whatever): He failed in his job and if his career suffered because of it, he had no one but himself to blame.
    I still rather feel that there’s a slight and possibly nonmeaningful line between the deed we know was done in the mpage case and the deeds that might be done based on the current shithead’s rantings. And, of course, if you did report it, you might be faced with those who think that these internets are all imaginary. Which, of course, is no reason not to take action.
    I’m not being very helpful, am I?

  4. The racist analogy is appropiate, as someone mentioned at Twisty’s. I wouldn’t want that guy coming near me with a 10 foot pole. Let his new supervisor know in a few months. He won’t get in trouble for his hate speech, but at least they’ll know what to watch out for.
    email works!

  5. It is not uncommon that the birthing community posts the names and workplaces of medical staff who have been abusive in their care of women and their children. I would not feel any problem with making his name and current workplace public. I believe that it gives women a fair advantage in being informed participants in their own health care. Besides, contacting his employer AND outing the a$$ publicly serve the purpose of demonstrating how one’s online actions relate to one’s entire life and that flippant, caustic remarks that dip into harassment and hate speech online can impact one’s professional life.

  6. It is clear that some of my Switchblade Doctor comments have offended a number of you though my intent was not to be hurtful. Although I have had some bad experiences with nurses, I have met many competent ones. As is often the case, the bad experiences tend to outshine the good.
    I apologize for my degrading comments and jokes about nurses and the nursing profession. They were definitely in poor taste (yes, my mother taught me better.) Please know that I am not at all misogynistic (if anything my views lean towards feministic, as I have two amazing sisters I highly respect.)
    In the future, I will express my views in a more considerate way. Please accept my sincere apology.
    — Switchblade Doctor

  7. SD, thank you for joining the discussion. I do find myself troubled by the situation, very much, and while I appreciate your apologies I’m not entirely mollified by them, and I couldn’t speak for anyone but myself anyway.
    You view yourself as leaning towards feminist(ic) because you respect your sisters. I’m glad you do, and I believe you do, yet it’s not really feminist to only respect women you know and have a lot in common with while disrespecting women you don’t know and haven’t discussed issues with to see how they’ve come to their decisions. That’s almost the definition of misogyny in fact – making exceptions for “your” women and expressing contempt for other women.
    I’m not surprised if you’ve never seen it that way: our culture doesn’t encourage men to examine unthinking sexist attitudes deeply. It can be very disturbing to look deep into the culturally-instilled deep well of contempt for women inside oneself that generates such remarks as those you made. Women have the deep well of cultural contempt for women inside ourselves too, which generates bitchy competitiveness and self-hate both.
    Have you ever thought of your opinions of your sisters compared to other women in this way? Does it make any sense to you?

  8. SD, I’m also interested in how you would respond to Maribelle’s reply to the same apology you posted over at Twisty’s blog. [link]
    Our general concern is that your unexamined contempt for women who make decisions you don’t like is a very dangerous one for a doctor to hold: directly dangerous for the women under his care and the women he works with.
    Your remarks reflect extremely poorly on MGH as well. I know you don’t work there anymore, but how well would your old head of department respond to what you wrote? Were you still there it could well generate an Adverse Action process against you.

  9. Posting the identical apology in two different blogs smacks of insincerity if you ask me. He’s doing his big mea culpa to the wrong people- he should be apologising to the innumerable people he has harmed at work. As Maribelle said misogyny causes damage, sometimes fatal damage on a daily basis.

  10. “Our general concern is that your unexamined contempt for women who make decisions you don’t like is a very dangerous one for a doctor to hold”
    I agree with this general concern; it is a huge one. Patriarchopathy is very, very hard at work every day in medicine, particularly women’s health of all kinds.
    I have an additional concern, and this is SD’s apparent disregard for evidence-based medicine. Aside from the absurdity of routinely anesthetising all women just in case someone decides to do a C section – what is with the claim that epidural anaesthesia decreases postpartum haemorrhage? That is way out of left field.
    There is absolutely no evidence that routine epidural anaesthesia increases the safety of mother and child, and plenty of evidence that it decreases it in various ways. The same mindset that promotes routine epidural use has been hard at work promoting women-on-their-backs, routine episiotomy, coached pushing, social induction of labour, and so on – ALL of which do harm, and none of which have yet been abandoned by the ob/gyn establishment.
    Amongst all the worshipping of science and logic and rationality and evidence, WHY is the evidence being ignored?

  11. I noticed that too, Lara. He was making some huge claims in that post about how much midwives etc were doing wrong, in his opinion, without reference to any evidence that certain practises he decried were harmful at all.

  12. SD, that was gutsy of you to come in and apologise. However, I would strongly advise individual counselling in the foreseeable future. I don’t mean this facetiously. You need to work with people in your line of work, and 51(?)% of them are women.

  13. What I have found amusing is that the SD’s apology is exactly the same on the blogs I have been watching in regards to this issue. He left the exact same apology on my blog as well, which at first was happy to see, but given that he posted about me in his “Exhibit A” post just prior to his blog coming down, I think I deserve something a little more personalized. I did edit my original posts about him, and took back the ignorant f* comment seeing that it infuriated him so (ie, Exhibit A). But maybe that is just me being selfish for wanting something a little more sincere.
    BTW, I haven’t traced him to DC, but another area of the US. But maybe my skills aren’t as good as yours!

  14. Oh, and another thought… my husband (who was getting a kick out of SD’s calling me a bull dog, etc…given the fact I am headstrong and would actually take that as a compliment) and I were also noticing that the esteemed physician did not back up any of his claims with research. I have tried to include research in my blogs (some of the studies I post oppose what I may have stated, or feel) to be fair and just to the women who read my blog. Everything is evidenced based now, so we were surprised to see that his outrageous claims were not supported by any posted research. I’d especially like to see the research that says nurses and advanced practice nurses are a bunch of monkeys. Because if that is what evidence shows, then I’ve better get started on how to act like one.

  15. Labor Nurse, email me with what you’ve found, please? It could be instructive to compare notes.

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