The high risk portion of my pregnancy lasted four months, during which my husband and I met many fetal/maternal specialists. Our son's life in the intensive care nursery lasted three months, during which we encountered every pediatric specialist known to mankind. It was our experience that medical people are precise, caring, cautious and meticulous. Our son's life was always in their hands. And we trusted them implicitly.
People who ponder the Palin pregnancy story have often asked the general question, Do Doctors Lie? I asked the two specialists who have weighed in on this blog before. Here is the first doctor's reply. You are welcome to weigh in as well.
There are a lot of subtleties to this story. Usually when the patient/parent wants you to lie for them, it’s insurance fraud, either commercial or Medicaid. They might ask you to lie to get the insurance to cover something they otherwise wouldn’t. That's not going to fly. It’s a huge legal risk and you wouldn't trust a parent that asked you to lie for them to keep quiet. Their very request makes them as untrustworthy as the doctor would be if he or she lied.
But doing something to help a patient without the patient actually know you're doing it? Probably happens, more in the heyday of managed care than now. Using words in an authorization request that you know will get something approved but aren’t necessarily “nothing but the truth” happens. But that is not the same thing as lying. It’s a way of assuring care for children.
Fudging records just doesn't work. Period. Too many people see them. Nurses, technicians, insurance companies. It’s too easy to get caught and doctors don't have the training to get away with it. Doctors aren’t trained in fraud. With electronic medical records, it's now close to impossible. Because they all have audit trails so that changes are all recorded by what was changed and by whom. And any time someone logs into a record to view it, that is recorded as well. A hospital can tell who is viewing a famous patient’s record.
And even if someone “snooped” in to a famous person’s medical records, to release that information in any way is both illegal and punishable by law. It has happened multiple times.
I think the family practitioner had an attorney to keep the newspaper honest, both legally and as a witness. Perhaps she wasn’t worried about what she had to say, but she certainly would have been concerned about being misquoted.
No doctor is going to put him or her self in jeopardy for a patient that is likely to be under the microscope like Palin. Even if this whole birth thing happened before she was nationally or world famous. There are too many witnesses in a hospital.
Ask Michael Jackson's doc how he feels about cover-ups now. The truth tends to find a way out.
And as far as the idea that someone was stuffing a pillow under their clothes for a month-long public pregnancy and that a doctor would sign a letter stating she took care of this patient while pregnant, that is just not going to happen. There is no penalty for the “patient” but the doc could lose their license.
I would still say her water broke and she went home to have the kid in relative privacy. In the end, “No harm, no foul”. Her actions may have been risky or inadvisable, if in fact the story of leaking fluid is true. But would a doctor lie about it? I don’t believe so.
By the way, anyone seen a long form on Palin?