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DOCTOR SUSPENDED FOR COMING FORWARD ABOUT SEXUAL HARASSMENT

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From the article: ""Part of the problem is the people you're supposed to call for help are the people who evaluate you," she says."

She also names her harasser as one of the people who you are supposed to report harassment to. This culture could partly explain her bizarre suspension. It also further explains (aside from the punitive suspension for reporting but ID-ing) why she didn't feel safe reporting the identity of the harasser without assurances she wouldn't face backlash. 

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Thanks for the update.  Hopefully she comes out of this ok.

I am curious as to what her thought process is at this point.  We had suggested in the original thread she contact PARO and a lawyer (which thankfully she has).  Going to the media though may not have been in her best interest (I'm not sure if I would have recommended that).  Mostly because now she has been publicly identified and this will be known every time she starts a rotation in residency (which would bother me, maybe shes ok with it).  I probably would only have advised going to the media as a more "nuclear option", like once I exhausted PARO and a lawyer and the school was digging in or threatening to escalate.  

The suspension still seems super bizarre/unnecessary though unless they have some knowledge we aren't aware of

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She's also doing IM, which means she'll have to apply for fellowships soon. Surely there will be at least some PDs who take note of this and maybe unconsciously or even conciously avoid the applicant as a "trouble maker" etc. Unfortunate situation all around.

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This does not reflect well on NOSM.

At this point, investigations are still pending and it is uncertain if the allegations against the school and the faculty member are true. What we do know is that the issue has raised uncertainty about the culture at NOSM. If I was an applicant in the current cycle, the last thing I want is to match to a program where "harassment is systemic, with an ongoing lack of accountability".

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It has been my experience that to catch a rat, firstly you must shine a light on it so it cannot hide any longer. Unfortunately, the medical school is also part of the problem and in the short term, the harasser appears to have the upper hand. However, she has a lawyer, and her career should be fine, even if she can no longer safely continue where she is. What was done to her is disgusting. Power corrupts. Believing you have absolute power corrupts absolutely. This man will think twice before he tries this with another again!

If NOSM wishes to protect its reputation, it will need to protect this resident, stop playing games or suffer the consequences.

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On 16/02/2018 at 7:29 PM, hamham said:

Lots of small towns in southern ON. Collingwood, Owen Sound, Mt Forest are all affiliated with McMaster. Petrolia, Hanover, and Goderich are all affiliated with Western. Belleville is affiliated with Queens.  Pembroke and Winchester are affiliated with Ottawa. Plus, if you are planning to go rural anyways, there is no reason why you need to remain in ON. I did electives in BC and Dal and they have very strong rural programs too. Manitoba's rural programs are solid too.

If you want real rural medical education, then Southern Ontario isn't a great choice anyway. Everything is so close to major centers that it's not really rural by any means. Even the "small" towns are quite big by the standards of other provinces. 

 

MUN also has an excellent reputation for providing true rural training. 

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On 14/02/2018 at 6:41 PM, sangria said:

I hope that even if/when she gets reinstated, she doesn't have a target on her back and then gets booted out for some nebulous "professionalism" BS.

I'm sure she will. As a resident, I saw the university/program unfairly screw over more than a few students for very sketchy reasons (personal feelings, gossip from other residents, persecution for health issues etc).

I have zero faith in the medical establishment doing the right thing when it comes to trainees. Not only is it a university involved, which tends to be full of bureaucratic morons, it's physicians (particularly academic ones) who are prone to being self serving, narcissistic, assholes.

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47 minutes ago, NLengr said:

I'm sure she will. As a resident, I saw the university/program unfairly screw over more than a few students for very sketchy reasons (personal feelings, gossip from other residents, persecution for health issues etc).

I have zero faith in the medical establishment doing the right thing when it comes to trainees. Not only is it a university involved, which tends to be full of bureaucratic morons, it's physicians (particularly academic ones) who are prone to being self serving, narcissistic, assholes.

Ive rarely heard this said but its for sure true.  I remember incidences especially in residency where one resident got a "reputation" for something and it became known by all the staff, making basically every future rotation harder for that resident.  It can get a bit high-school ish sometimes.  Most staff are good but there are some that almost seem to thrive on the "drama" of a resident having issues.  I'm so glad residency is over.

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It's really all hearsay at this point. It would have been great if she could have recorded that call telling her was suspended and not allowed to come into work and wait for an e-mail. 

But regardless who's in the right or wrong, NOSM's PR and image is under fire right now and she's locked in to see this through. 

I have a feeling that there was a specific reason the resident wanted to settle on an investigator that she and the school could agree on. I think she suspects that an investigator appointed by the school will be biased (and I don't disagree). The investigator will find nothing, the school will be free from any wrong-doing, and it'll shut her up from making any more future complaints about the faculty member and ruin her reputation/credibility.

I'm actually surprised she had the balls to go public. I've heard of similar incidents like this in various programs in various schools, but the victims never escalate the situation into the public/out of the institution because they know it's an uphill climb/career ruining move for them. They usually acknowledge the system's rigged and try to make the best of their situation/career by not causing a scene. I hope she has faculty members who are on her side, because she'll need them as references when she has to find a job. 

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3 hours ago, NLengr said:

I'm sure she will. As a resident, I saw the university/program unfairly screw over more than a few students for very sketchy reasons (personal feelings, gossip from other residents, persecution for health issues etc).

I have zero faith in the medical establishment doing the right thing when it comes to trainees. Not only is it a university involved, which tends to be full of bureaucratic morons, it's physicians (particularly academic ones) who are prone to being self serving, narcissistic, assholes.

All too familiar. I can't nod my head in agreement hard enough. 

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When a second year resident, a physician of power above me threatened me professionally, when he was entirely off base and being an asshole enjoying his so-called power over me. I immediately went to two superiors whom I knew had my back, told them of the encounter in detail. They both told me to simply ignore him, and thanked me for the informal report. That asshole physician has since given me a wide berth, staying far away from me. If and when possible, a strong offence is preferable to simply being defensive.  

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When I was in 3rd year, one of my fellow residents (in the year below me) was doing a mandatory clinic rotation with a supervisor who was known for using his power over residents to make them feel dumb/incompetent.  The resident had interviewed a patient, and was giving the story and his assessment/plan.  The supervisor asked the resident "did you ask about symptom X," and the resident said yes, the patient denied symptom X.  Well don't you know it, the supervisor asked the patient, and the patient endorsed having the symptom.

Now, any resident or med student will tell you this happens fairly often--you ask a patient something, they give one answer; but then they have time to ponder it and end up giving a different answer when asked later.  This happens like...really often lol.  Well in this circumstance, the supervisor got it in his head that the resident must have lied!!  As much as the resident explained himself, the supervisor didn't believe him.  He ended up making the resident repeat the month long rotation (!!) citing unprofessionalism (he said it was a pattern, because the resident was also late a few times).  

My point is that asshole staff exist, and if they start targeting someone its very hard to get out of that target.  And I'm being intentionally vague about this story because the resident that had failed is still a resident.

Edit: and btw this staff felt that his "tough love" approach was helping residents--hes the type that thinks todays residents are too coddled and their lives are cushy compared to when HE was a resident and therefore that his strictness is good for them.  As you can probably guess he is not well liked

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10 hours ago, goleafsgochris said:

Now, any resident or med student will tell you this happens fairly often--you ask a patient something, they give one answer; but then they have time to ponder it and end up giving a different answer when asked later.  This happens like...really often lol.  Well in this circumstance, the supervisor got it in his head that the resident must have lied!!  As much as the resident explained himself, the supervisor didn't believe him.  He ended up making the resident repeat the month long rotation (!!) citing unprofessionalism (he said it was a pattern, because the resident was also late a few times). 

That reminds me of when I did obs as a first year resident. It was a first prenatal visit. I went through an obstetrical history and asked if she considered genetic testing such as SIPS, then explained what it tests for. When my preceptor asked if I asked about genetic testing and I said that I did, she asked the patient and the patient denied it. But there was a language barrier and it wasn't asked in the same way I asked so the patient must've thought my preceptor was asking about something else. My preceptor ended up chewing me out...in front of the patient...for not asking something I actually did ask about.

That same rotation later on I had to do an amniotomy. I tried plenty of times on this woman but couldn't do it. I asked that same preceptor I was on call with if they could teach me how to properly do it, but instead they talked down to me in front of the nurses and other learners there and told me I need to do another obs rotation in order to pass my residency saying she had 3rd year med student learners who were better than me. This was literally one of my first rotations in first year residency fresh out of med school.

That experience turned me off completely from doing obs once I finished my residency and started working as a staff.

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14 hours ago, Mithril said:

That reminds me of when I did obs as a first year resident. It was a first prenatal visit. I went through an obstetrical history and asked if she considered genetic testing such as SIPS, then explained what it tests for. When my preceptor asked if I asked about genetic testing and I said that I did, she asked the patient and the patient denied it. But there was a language barrier and it wasn't asked in the same way I asked so the patient must've thought my preceptor was asking about something else. My preceptor ended up chewing me out...in front of the patient...for not asking something I actually did ask about.

That same rotation later on I had to do an amniotomy. I tried plenty of times on this woman but couldn't do it. I asked that same preceptor I was on call with if they could teach me how to properly do it, but instead they talked down to me in front of the nurses and other learners there and told me I need to do another obs rotation in order to pass my residency saying she had 3rd year med student learners who were better than me. This was literally one of my first rotations in first year residency fresh out of med school.

That experience turned me off completely from doing obs once I finished my residency and started working as a staff.

That must have been difficult. It’s unfortunate that you meet doctors who do not know what it really means to be professional. 

No one should ever be berated in public. It’s completely unprofessional and unconstructive. It also undermines your credibility when done in front of patients.

Your preceptor needs a course in people management. 

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22 minutes ago, Butterfly_ said:

That must have been difficult. It’s unfortunate that you meet doctors who do not know what it really means to be professional. 

No one should ever be berated in public. It’s completely unprofessional and unconstructive. It also undermines your credibility when done in front of patients.

Your preceptor needs a course in people management. 

welcome to medicine friend

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19 minutes ago, Butterfly_ said:

I hope I survive then. *prays*

I was talking to my friend who is just about to finish med, and it, unfortunately, is the culture. Some doctors will yell, berate, or make you feel small when you want to just confirm something or ask for help. My current job I could never imagine that happening and haven't heard of that happening to any of my peers as we trained. All we can do is be the change we want to see if we make it in, and become attendings.

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30 minutes ago, IMislove said:

I was talking to my friend who is just about to finish med, and it, unfortunately, is the culture. Some doctors will yell, berate, or make you feel small when you want to just confirm something or ask for help. My current job I could never imagine that happening and haven't heard of that happening to any of my peers as we trained. All we can do is be the change we want to see if we make it in, and become attendings.

and we have been - slowly, progressively, over the past 30 years. That isn't to ignore the problems we now face but a reminder that we can face them and change while at time, often at times is slow, it is progressive. 

 

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8 minutes ago, IMislove said:

I was talking to my friend who is just about to finish med, and it, unfortunately, is the culture. Some doctors will yell, berate, or make you feel small when you want to just confirm something or ask for help. My current job I could never imagine that happening and haven't heard of that happening to any of my peers as we trained. All we can do is be the change we want to see if we make it in, and become attendings.

It's awful to hear about such experiences and I hope that there are many more preceptors that genuinely care to help residents than those who believe in character building. The members of these forums do give me faith that the future culture of medicine can be changed

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5 hours ago, Eudaimonia said:

It's awful to hear about such experiences and I hope that there are many more preceptors that genuinely care to help residents than those who believe in character building. The members of these forums do give me faith that the future culture of medicine can be changed

The vast majority of preceptors I've worked with have been amazing. Rarely you do get one who is for whatever reason sour and difficult to approach. Definitely not the norm, but the bad stories get a lot of publicity. Everyone experiences at least one 

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11 minutes ago, BoopityBoop said:

The worse I've heard is a surgeon asking the nurse to hold an additional sterile towel (huck towel) up so they can slap the resident across the face and remain sterile

good ol boys of good ol western.

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4 hours ago, BoopityBoop said:

The worse I've heard is a surgeon asking the nurse to hold an additional sterile towel (huck towel) up so they can slap the resident across the face and remain sterile

I believe you, but I'm pretty sure that's against the law...

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4 hours ago, insomnias said:

I believe you, but I'm pretty sure that's against the law...

Not to justify it at all, but I would imagine the above was done in a joking matter.

Oddly I found surgeons to not at all be the worst offenders.  Maybe it would have felt different if I was a surgical resident (or female), but the surgeons I encountered tended to pick on you but in a more good-natured "lol residents suck" kind of way, and not a "you idiot you are a failure" kind of way.  

I also totally agree with organomegaly, in all my training I only encountered a few bad staff out of well over 100.  In fact, that's why they stand out so much.  Most people interact with the "bad staff" but are able to sort of roll their eyes and move on, its if the bad staff doesn't like you for whatever reason that ive seen problems occur.  Also, this is why its probably so isolating when there is trouble like with the OP, its rare enough that theres not a clear path of what to do

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