Dr. Whistleblower

In all likelihood, more and more physicians will find themselves in the position of potential whistleblower. It's a tough spot.

Put together greed, doing the wrong things, a growing number of employed physicians, and the rewards for exposing criminals, and you have the perfect recipe for more and more joining the ranks of Dr. Whistleblower.

Telling truth to authority is never easy or risk-free. Taking it one step further and snitching on your boss, company or colleague takes it to another level. We're talking about the 60 Minutes level.

When confronted with suspicious or evident toxic or criminal behavior in medicine, most doctors will be faced with a crisis of confidence, conscience, and character. One the one hand, they want to preserve the integrity of the profession and protect patients. On the other hand, they know from previous life experience the consequences of "getting involved" and all the threats doing so can pose to one’s self-interest.

In addition, there are various levels of administrative remedies and presumed and legislatively mandated guarantees of anonymity that can soothe the conscience and lower the risk of putting your lips to the whistle.

Finally, some of us have been the target of whistleblowers and know how it feels to be unjustifiably accused or be ground zero of a vendetta attack.

In the end, though, whether to turn the light on the cockroaches is a personal, often painful decision. It's very hard to do the right thing and, you might find that once you turn on the light, the cockroaches have fled and all you are left with is the light shining on you alone in the middle of an empty kitchen floor.