Medical Diagnosis: We Suck! – Patrol Tactics Channel – POLICE Magazine

A couple of weeks ago a really dumb survey was published, which purported to show that a giant majority of EP’s thought police were using excessive force, and I agreed with California Medicine Man that it was at best ill-informed, and most likely wrong.

The original article didn’t go unnoticed by the Police:

Medical Diagnosis: We Suck! – Patrol Tactics Channel – POLICE Magazine

It appears to me that there’s a good number of doctors—say about 98% of those polled—out there who are in desperate need of some vertebrae transplants.

Physicians, heal thy selves.

Read the article, and the comments.  Interestingly, they assume it’s true (which I doubt), and the anecdotes about bad medicine flow.


  1. “in desperate need of some vertebrae transplants”…howling…

    Frankly, without that “excessive force”, we’d have a whole lot more folks in the ED’s and the morgues. Thank God for those men and women who put themselves in harms way daily for the rest of us. And the pay sure isn’t why they do it.

    Thanks, Grunt Doc, for speaking out about this.

  2. Actually this says more about the innumeracy of doctors, press, and police than it does about police skills. The study is seriously flawed for its purpose, but does reveal a little.

    First, how many total events does an ER doc see in a year, or more specifically the ER docs that were surveyed? I’ll make a guess at 300. This could be significantly off, and is part of what makes the study so flawed. It makes my final numbers very shakey.

    Second, if a doc sees even one case of excessive force they will answer “yes”. So the study says that 3% of ER docs do not see any excessive force in 300 cases. 97% see one or more cases. I would expect this result if 1% of events involve excessive force.

    There is a lot of uncertainty here. They did not gather enough information to make a better estimate, but from what they have published, they are saying that less than 1% of police incidents involve excessive force. (Incidents that do not involve an ER visit are not measured, but use of excessive force would also increase the likelihood of an ER visit.)

    That does not strike me as an unreasonable estimate, based on what I’ve seen from citizen complaints and other police discussions. A lot of fuss and bother for a report saying that less than one percent of incidents involved excessive force.

  3. I saw that study as well. How did the ED Docs determine “excessive force”? Were they there at the beat-down?

    I’m an ED Doc with a firm belief in boot leather justice.

  4. Strote was the main author on that. I might have known….I did my residency in Seattle. Well, it’s best left ignored.

  5. Interestingly enough, considering its genesis, the “response” by this policeman can be considered rather excessive, and furthermore, not really addressing the original point of the survey. Attacking physicians generically based on a string of statistics, anecdotes, and innuendo doesn’t constitute a logical reaction.

    If he has such a body of experience, I would imagine that he should recall that when he does have contact with physicians he is likely treated with great respect. Meanwhile, for whatever purpose, he is collecting malapropisms and verbal inconsistencies. At least we don’t tell people to (sic) “heal thy selves.”

    The original news item I see as just another example of manufactured news intended to get people upset, thereby attracting more attention to the news source by making divisive statements, rather than being anything useful.

    Why not, “the majority of [lawyers/policemen/general public] feel that doctors..(insert divisive reaction here)..”?

  6. If this was a survey about physicians needing more liability protection or more money, which the survey would undoubtedly find they all believe, physicians would all be touting it as if it was the last word in analytical studies.

  7. TheNewGuy says:

    And heeeeeere’s Matt! A very funny man, ladies and gentlemen!

    ER docs aren’t cops, don’t understand police use-of-force, and generally aren’t present at its application. However, they have a much better grasp on defensive medicine, and how it affects their practice.

    Keep beating that drum, CuriousJD.

  8. Wow, you’re really into me aren’t you new guy.

    Docs aren’t lawyers, never practice law, never have even served on a jury for the most part, and the vast majority will never seen the inside of a courtroom and still they feel confident in opining on the law. You mean your medical training didn’t teach you any criminal law?

    When you “defensive medicine” whiners can even agree on what is and is not “defensive medicine” then you’ll have a point.


  1. Why We Suck says:

    […] GruntDoc » Blog Archive » Medical Diagnosis: We Suck! – Patrol … ( – January 14, 2009Medical Diagnosis: We Suck! – Patrol Tactics Channel – POLICE Magazine … It appears to me that there’s a good number of doctors—say about 98% of those polled—out there who are in desperate need of som… […]