MacIver News Service | February 19, 2011 12:05pm Updated 2:40pm
[Madison, WI] As tens of thousands of public employees skipped work this week to attend protest rallies outside the Wisconsin State Capitol, many wondered if they would face any disciplinary action for unexcused absences.
On Saturday, a group of men and women in lab coats purporting to be doctors were handing out medical excuse notes, without examining the 'patients.'
"I asked this doctor what he was doing and he told me they were handing out excuses to people who were feeling sick due to emotional, mental or financial distress," said Christian Hartsock. "They never performed an exam--he asked me how I was feeling today and I said I'm from California and I'm not used to the cold, so he handed me a note."
Another woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said they were handing out excuses like they were leaflets.
"I asked if they were handing out doctors' excuses and a guy said yes and asked me if I needed one," she said. "When I told them I needed one for February 16 and 17th, he wondered if I wanted to come back here for the protests next week."
What happened next?
"I said, 'sure,' and I received a doctor's note for the 16th through the 25th of February, without a medical exam."
The notes read
Feb 19, 2011
Date of birth ____/_____/_____
To Whom it May Concern:
This is confirm I have seen and evaluated the above named patient.
Please excuse from work/school due to a medical condition from
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if additional information is needed. Thank you.
WI license number
Based on an examination of the signature and medical license number provided, one of the men handing out these notes was purporting to be James H Shropshire MD, a Clinical Associate Professor at the University Wisconsin Madison.
At this time, MacIver News Service is attempting to contact Dr. Shropshire to see if indeed he was the one handing out the notes on the Capitol Square.