[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]
The other day I decided to count all the ways in which those doctors handing out obviously fraudulent sick notes could get in trouble. First, I confess to failing to notice that their employers might get angry, too, in this case meaning the University of Wisconsin deciding to investigate the doctors in those street clinics who also happened to work for the school.
But I did predict that the state licensing board might be interested and evidently they are starting the investigatory process. I have to think ordinarily a doctor handing out a few bogus sick notes wouldn’t be a matter of investigation if only because by the principles of triage they had bigger fish to fry. But there is a phrase we use in law: open and notorious. And when unethical or unlawful behavior is practiced in an open and notorious fashion, very often officials come down on them, to make the punishment as famous as the infraction itself. From the article:
Staff at the state Department of Regulation and Licensing have begun to review roughly 300 e-mail complaints about doctors issuing excuse notes for protesters at the state Capitol over the weekend, officials said Tuesday.
Complaints that name a specific doctor and the alleged violations of rules covered by their licenses will be forwarded to the Wisconsin Medical Examining Board. Letters specifying the complaint will be sent to the doctors at the start of the investigation.
To date, the names of doctors Lou Sanner and James Shropshire have been cited in media reports about the medical excuses dispensed over the weekend. Both are affiliated with the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. The agency said none of the doctors involved was representing UW Health at the time.
Shropshire has not returned a call seeking comment, and Sanner defended his actions in an interview with The Associated Press. He said the excuses were legitimate because those protesting showed symptoms of stress.
Which seems to be the fig leaf they are trying to use to cover up this lawless behavior: stress! That kind of defiance makes him a nail that sticks up and is likely to be hammered down.
Meanwhile, for Beldar’s benefit, we have the goodness of Megyn Kelly confronting a Teacher’s Union President over the sick notes issue:
I found her weirdly passive with him, but still she made her point. He was pretty much condoning fraud. And she managed to show that the guy literally had worked out his script and no matter what she actually said, he would stick to it.
In that clip she also showed footage from this next Fox and Friends clip, where they proved they didn’t need O’Keefe to pose as a pimp to catch people acting lawlessly. And of course you see the phony stress excuse, again.
And of course Ed Morrissey is right to note that it is specious to claim that patient privacy is implicated. I don’t believe any court would consider a “street examination” as creating the necessary reasonable expectation of privacy.
What the teachers there are hoping for, I suppose, is a bit of Boston Tea Party ethics. Allow me to explain what I mean by that. In the original Tea Party, when they partied like it was 1773, the men who dumped the tea dressed like Native Americans. No one was fooled by their disguise. The British knew they were colonists, just not which ones. And many locals more than likely knew exactly who these men were, but it gave them that fig leaf of plausible deniability when the authorities came asking. You could imagine them saying, “it’s a crying shame that you lobsterbacks had your tea dumped in the harbor. And I would gladly tell you who did it, but best I could tell they were Indians.” The same is happening here. Everyone knows these doctor’s notes are a fraud. But they are hoping that they gave themselves just enough plausible deniability to allow authorities to pretend they can’t prove any misconduct.
The difference of course was that the Tea Tax was manifestly unjust as taxation without representation, justifying lawless activity up to and including actual revolution. In contrast, the teachers’ unions had the chance to vote on the issue, and they are damaging the state because they can’t accept losing. And that is inexcusable.
[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]