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Outcry as ob-gyn uses Facebook to complain about patient

In the latest episode of professional emotions being expressed via social networking, a Missouri ob-gyn explains that she's fed up with a patient's lateness. On Facebook.

2 min read
KMOV-TV Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk

Now that Facebook is not merely woven into the social fabric but actually constitutes it, we've become used to it being the forum for indiscretions.

Normally, though, it's teachers being amusing about their little pupils, or fugitives teasing cops.

One rarely hears of accountants posting that their clients are ugly, inefficient, or numerically challenged.

And one certainly hasn't heard of an ob-gyn complaining that a patient is always late.

As KMOV-TV reveals it, Dr. Amy Dunbar of St. Louis' Mercy Hospital ran out of mercy for a patient whose time-consciousness allegedly rivaled that of a singing, stomping diva.


Dr. Dunbar offered on Facebook:

So I have a patient who has chosen to either no-show or be late (sometimes hours) for all of her prenatal visits, ultrasounds, and NSTs. She is now three hours late for her induction.

As her hopes sank and her bile rose, she added one further incision: "May I show up late for her delivery?"

As far as some were concerned, no doubt, she may.

However, when the Mercy Moms To Be Facebook page got hold of this comment, they slapped its bottom.

For example, this from Heather Tiedemann:

I just want say the lack of professionalism by Dr. Amy Dunbar is beyond words at this point. She should not be allowed to work with patients if she callously talks about them on her own Facebook page. While she does not name patients on her page, she gives personal information about patients which could identify who she is talking about.

As happens quite often with these Facebook revelations, many corporate organizations find themselves unsure whether their rules were broken.

Mercy Hospital issued a straight-faced statement: "Mercy values the dignity and privacy of all our patients and we are very sorry that this incident occurred. While our privacy compliance staff has confirmed that this physician's comments did not represent a breach of privacy laws, they were inappropriate and not in line with our values of respect and dignity."

It seems that, as Dunbar didn't reveal the patient's name, no confidentiality was breached.

Yet at some point, either people will come to terms with the fact that postings on Facebook do, indeed, reflect the reality of the posters, or Facebook will become this peculiar place where people hide their true feelings, especially about work.

Yes, Facebook will become just like the office.