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Patient safety scandal involves millions in kickbacks

Physicians owe their patients a certain duty of care. As a result, patients have great reasons to trust that the decisions their physicians make are made in their best interests. When physicians make patient-related decisions not in their patients’ best interests but in service of a financial agenda, a great trust breaks into tiny pieces.

Unfortunately, this kind of trust is broken more often than patients and honorable physicians would like to believe. Most recently, a physician who has worked for some of the most prestigious medical organizations in the world has been accused of taking almost $12 million in kickbacks from a company in exchange for influencing an important medical guideline.

The physician had worked previously with noble organizations including the Clinton Global Health Initiative, the Mayo Clinic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Harvard Medical School and the Cleveland Clinic. Yet, he gave up all the trust that these organizations and his patients had in him in order to benefit financially from influencing guidelines tied to a product used to prevent surgical errors and specifically surgical infections.

When a patient becomes a victim of a physician’s financial agenda, the broken trust that results can be devastating. It is important to understand that victims of these kinds of broken trusts who suffer harm as a result of choices that physicians make in service of their financial agendas can seek financial restitution in the courts if they so choose to. This course of action cannot heal what has been broken, but it can help to hold these physicians accountable for their actions.

Source: Forbes, “The Money, the MD and a $12 Million Patient Safety Scandal,” Michael Millenson, Feb. 14, 2014

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