Video Of Florida Doctor Confrontation With Patient Goes Viral

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Camera phones and social media are now changing what everyone can see in the health care setting. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Don’t like reality television shows? Well, if you aren’t careful, you could inadvertently be on one, in a way. The following video of an exchange between a doctor and a patient in a Florida Gainesville After-Hours Clinic went viral (as in social media viral and not real virus viral), after it was posted by Jessica Stipe on Facebook:

And surprise! Lots of people on the Interwebs and social media then quickly judged the patient and the doctor. Opinions ranged from blaming the doctor to blaming the patient such as:

The Gainesville After Hours Clinic responded by posting a statement on its Facebook account from the doctor, Peter Gallogly, MD. Dr. Gallogly claimed that the video segment came after, "Ms. Stipe had been increasingly belligerent and abusive to the office staff, cursing and threatening them with violence, because she was unwell and had been waiting to be seen by me for more than an hour." He added, “At the very end of the events, I most regrettably lost my temper, and spoke to the women in a most unprofessional manner. I make no excuses for my unacceptable behavior.”

The video snippet was a bit like the final or second to last episode of a reality TV season series and certainly did not capture the whole sequence of events. Thus, we can’t yet tell for sure what exactly the patient did to provoke the doctor’s response, what the doctor and staff members may have said prior to the segment, and whether this was this was an isolated incident or part of a pattern of behavior for everyone involved. Time and further investigation may tell. 

Welcome to the world where almost everyone can have a portable camera. You know the Police song "Every Breath You Take"? Well, like it or not, doctors, other health care workers, and the health care system need to realize and recognize that "I’ll be watching you" now applies nearly everywhere, for better or for worse. One moment you may be quietly (or noisily) practicing medicine and the next moment you’re like The Situation on The Jersey Shore or Omarosa on The Apprentice.

This certainly changes the practice of medicine and how health systems operate. On the positive side, cameras can expose truly bad behavior and hold people and health systems more accountable. As a result, such a spotlight may help improve patient care and health care systems and can also protect health care workers when they are treated unfairly, threatened, or assaulted. Recall what happened to nurse Alex Wubbels in Utah:

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On the negative side, cameras can also invade privacy, interfere with trust, and put well-meaning doctors and other health care workers under even more undue and unreasonable stress to be perfect. They can also help frame health care workers, literally and figuratively, when only a segment of the whole story is shown.

Either way, smartphone cameras aren’t going away. So health care workers, medical schools, training programs, and health care systems need to understand the potential ramifications and adapt. The reality is that they are increasingly becoming part of an ongoing reality show that could go viral at any moment.

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Camera phones and social media are now changing what everyone can see in the health care setting. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Don’t like reality television shows? Well, if you aren’t careful, you could inadvertently be on one, in a way. The following video of an exchange between a doctor and a patient in a Florida Gainesville After-Hours Clinic went viral (as in social media viral and not real virus viral), after it was posted by Jessica Stipe on Facebook:

And surprise! Lots of people on the Interwebs and social media then quickly judged the patient and the doctor. Opinions ranged from blaming the doctor to blaming the patient such as:

The Gainesville After Hours Clinic responded by posting a statement on its Facebook account from the doctor, Peter Gallogly, MD. Dr. Gallogly claimed that the video segment came after, “Ms. Stipe had been increasingly belligerent and abusive to the office staff, cursing and threatening them with violence, because she was unwell and had been waiting to be seen by me for more than an hour.” He added, “At the very end of the events, I most regrettably lost my temper, and spoke to the women in a most unprofessional manner. I make no excuses for my unacceptable behavior.”

The video snippet was a bit like the final or second to last episode of a reality TV season series and certainly did not capture the whole sequence of events. Thus, we can’t yet tell for sure what exactly the patient did to provoke the doctor’s response, what the doctor and staff members may have said prior to the segment, and whether this was this was an isolated incident or part of a pattern of behavior for everyone involved. Time and further investigation may tell. 

Welcome to the world where almost everyone can have a portable camera. You know the Police song “Every Breath You Take”? Well, like it or not, doctors, other health care workers, and the health care system need to realize and recognize that “I’ll be watching you” now applies nearly everywhere, for better or for worse. One moment you may be quietly (or noisily) practicing medicine and the next moment you’re like The Situation on The Jersey Shore or Omarosa on The Apprentice.

This certainly changes the practice of medicine and how health systems operate. On the positive side, cameras can expose truly bad behavior and hold people and health systems more accountable. As a result, such a spotlight may help improve patient care and health care systems and can also protect health care workers when they are treated unfairly, threatened, or assaulted. Recall what happened to nurse Alex Wubbels in Utah:

[embedded content]

On the negative side, cameras can also invade privacy, interfere with trust, and put well-meaning doctors and other health care workers under even more undue and unreasonable stress to be perfect. They can also help frame health care workers, literally and figuratively, when only a segment of the whole story is shown.

Either way, smartphone cameras aren’t going away. So health care workers, medical schools, training programs, and health care systems need to understand the potential ramifications and adapt. The reality is that they are increasingly becoming part of an ongoing reality show that could go viral at any moment.

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