Blocking Doctors Begins Earlier Than Thought

By: Bharani Padmanabhan – July, 2018

We have reached the point in the United States where pretty much anyone has been deemed worthy of second-guessing doctors. Some high-school dropout at an insurance company or a technician at a pharmacy now is celebrated and supported for treating a doctor’s order or prescription as being merely a recommendation.

This only reflects the wider spread of the utter contempt for doctors and their knowledge that non-medical staff inside state medical boards have always expressed.

Lucian Leape and his acolytes have done yeoman service to this effort with their fake propaganda that doctors are responsible for killing 400,000 Americans every single year and that doctors, not sepsis, are the third leading cause of death in the United States.

If you believe Leape and his friends, of course, I have a beautiful bridge to sell you.

Recently I came to learn about Leape’s impact on disrespect for doctors even before they enter practice.

Dr. Farzana Sheikh is a legal immigrant and a physician. In our current political climate, both are liabilities.

Dr. Sheikh was a medical researcher at Stanford and co-authored several papers on cystic fibrosis in major journals. She received excellent recommendations as an intelligent and hardworking doctor. Dr. Sheikh then moved to Austin TX for residency training. Folks there however treated her as if she had arrived fresh from abroad and someone claimed she needed more time to adjust to the way things were done there. The stressful environment led her to take a month’s leave.

Dr. Sheikh then returned to California to be with her husband. The Texas residency program credited her with 11 months of training. The new program in California credited her with 10 months of training. Dr. Sheikh reluctantly agreed to do 2 extra months. She received excellent reviews from doctors in the new program just as in all previous positions.

Towards the end of her third year she applied for a California medical license through her residency program. And that is when her life turned into something from a Philip Dick novel.

Some non-medical staff member at the medical board first claimed that Dr. Sheikh had completed only seven (7) months of training in Texas, even though Texas itself wrote 11 months. I have seen the papers.

The staff-person thus claimed that Dr. Sheikh’s license application must be denied because she had not completed 2 years of residency and that she had lied under oath on her application.
It gets curiouser.

The board’s non-medical staff then turned around and claimed that Dr. Sheikh could not complete her residency at all because she had completed 11 months in Texas and so she had already timed out of the 36 months allowed to international medical graduates to train without a state license.

This same bureaucracy has now claimed that she trained only 7 months in Texas and so lied on her license application form and then, oh!, she trained 11 months in Texas so she timed out and anyway we don’t need to give her a medical license.

Did I mention how passionately California cares about social justice for people of color and how much they support and mentor minorities and women in the field of medicine?

The duplicity here is so blatant, one does not need a law degree to get it.

The fundamental problem of course remains the fact that no doctor who ever sits on state medical boards ever discharges his or her mandate to provide oversight over the non-medical staff who populate these licensing boards.

A board controlled by doctors would not have allowed its untrained staff to present totally opposite “facts” about the number of months Dr. Sheikh had trained in Texas and use that to try blocking her from even completing her residency.

Doctors have abandoned control over their own profession. That train left the station decades ago. There is no mystery as to why the American Medical Association now represents barely 15% of America’s doctors. And those 15% are who get selected to sit on these medical boards.

As a result, good compassionate doctors like Dr. Sheikh are blocked from helping patients and the American people are left bereft of care from those for whom medicine is a calling and not a career.