Doctors are allowed to say dumb things

That’s the considered opinion of a Judge in New Hampshire. I blogged about this a while back, and the doctor finally got his day(s) in court.

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


  1. I’ve been watching Dr. Bennett’s case with great interest, because his clinic is only a short distance away. He’s my oldest son’s physician.

    Dr. Bennett has quite a following locally: “Have nots for Dr. Bennett

    I was relieved with the outcome, but it’s not over yet. Were Dr. Bennett to stop practicing for any reason, an awful of local people would “fall through the cracks.” He sees anyone and everyone – whether they can pay him or not.

    He’s “old school” … and we need a lot more like him.

  2. Was it unneccesary that these allegations be looked into? Now the doctor wants to sue because someone investigated and disagreed with his admitted practices?

    For Moof, if the doctor recommended that your oldest son kill himself, as he has to another patient, and your son followed his doctors advice, would you still think we need more like him?

  3. Tha allegations were looked into: the issue was whether Dr. Bennett should lose his medical license over speech. The Judge in the case, while not happy about what was said, ruled that his speech wasn’t cause for any further investigation.