CONCORD, N.H. (AP) – A judge has ordered the state Board of Medicine to stop disciplinary proceedings against a doctor accused of telling a patient she was so obese she might only be attractive to black men and advising another to shoot herself following brain surgery.
Judge Edward Fitzgerald made clear in a ruling released Thursday that he did not condone remarks attributed to Dr. Terry Bennett and found them unnecessary, but ruled Bennett had a right to speak bluntly.
“It is nonetheless important … to ensure that physicians and patients are free to discuss matters relating to health without fear of government reprisal, even if such discussions may sometimes be harsh, rude or offensive to the listener,” he concluded in the ruling Wednesday.
Yes, he’s not very smart. Given. But, should speaking bluntly (or offensively, given the shifting sands of offensive speech) result in medical licensure suspension? Per the court, no.
And the judge takes a nice swipe at the AMA, for good measure:
Fitzgerald also ruled that state and American Medical Association requirements to treat patients with “compassion and respect for human dignity and rights” are so vague they are unconstitutional. Bennett probably would have won his challenges before the board, the judge said.
So, Dr. Bennett, you’ve won! Are you going to go to Disneyland? Not hardly:
Bennett said he planned to sue everyone involved for “malicious prosecution.”
“I am not inclined to be forgiving about it,” he said. “It’s been devastating and infuriating.”
I don’t think I’d be all that forgiving either.
via Kevin, MD