Former Medical Board Chair Says Sick Note Doctors Deserved Suspension

[Madison, Wisc…] A former Chair of the Wisconsin Medical Examining Board is calling the punishment seven doctors received after writing fake sick notes to protesters a slap on the wrist.

Dr. Darold Treffert served on the board from 1995 to 2003 and was the chair in 2000.  After he saw the MacIver News Service video of doctors passing out sick excuses to protesters, he said he was appalled.

“The reason I feel so strongly about this is I saw the video and it was mockery of the doctor-patient relationship.  It was like something you might see on Saturday Night Live,” Treffert told the MacIver News Service.

Treffert said there isn’t any precedent that the Medical Examining Board could have looked to, and the rules that they follow, called MED 10, did not have any specific guidelines for this type of incident.  On Wednesday, the board issued reprimands to the doctors for poor record keeping.  Treffert agrees with the charge, but says the punishment was too lenient.

“I would have pushed for a suspension for several reasons,” he said.  “First the teachers who got these slips were suspended for at least a day and if the teachers are suspended, even if only for a day or two, the person who wrote the sick form ought to have the same.  And I think it ups the ante in terms of the seriousness.”

After the board’s decision Wednesday the current chair, Dr. Sujatha Kailas, said “There was no way to determine what kind of evaluation was actually made of an individual before these physicians issued their medical excuses.”

Treffert said he wrote to the chair and other current members of the board asking them to watch the video before voting.

“I don’t know if they did, but [the video] speaks for itself,” he said.

In addition to the MacIver News report on the fake sick note incident, other witnesses have posted their own videos of interactions with the doctors on February 19th.  Andrew Breitbart, a conservative blogger, asked the doctors what condition he could claim he had.  The doctor responded “Walker Pneumonia.”

Fox News also did a series of stories featuring different interactions its reporters had with the doctors.

Treffert said the reprimand will, indeed, follow the doctors for the rest of their career, but what they did warrants much more.

“This was practicing medicine in a way that is simply not acceptable,” he said.