Dr. Derm’s patient has seen him for body exams, eczematous dermatitis and acneiform eruptions for more than a decade. No matter what he does, she is not happy. She has expressed her discontent to his staff and to him. On numerous occasions, she has refused to pay insurance co-pays and deductibles. He has written off thousands of dollars over the course of three years. Finally, he sends her a letter discharging her from the practice.
She responds by saying she will “destroy him” on social media if he does not allow her to see him. Dr. Derm responds by offering her $1,000 to never come back to the practice. She files a complaint with the state Board of Medical Examiners over the ethics of such a practice. Is he in trouble?
In reality, most patients do like their dermatologists. Unfortunately, that is not the case with all patients.
Dr. Derm treated his patient within the standard of care. His treatment, by all means, was good. Yet, this patient became disrespectful to the doctor and his staff. He felt it was worth paying her $1,000 to go away. He had nothing else to offer her medically, and he wanted to be left in peace and tend to his other patients who valued his time.
In “real life” people are paid for doing something: for an action or activity or labor. But in medicine (dermatology), not always.