Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Fake

I've been called a lot of things during my career - baby doc, nurse, asshole, student, intern - but I've never been called a fraud until just a few weeks ago.  While arguing with a few people on Twitter about the meaning and significance of brain death, I was accused of not being a real doctor.  Of being a fake, a fraud.  

At first I tried to defend myself, to tell these people that I am, in fact, a doctor, that I actually do take care of patients, I actually save lives.  Of course they didn't listen.  They continued their crusade against me.  I have no idea why they felt the need to try to discredit me.  Maybe they just don't like that I disagreed with them.  Regardless, I stopped defending myself.  I started ignoring them because I realised it didn't matter what they think. 

Except that it does matter.  My integrity, honesty, and professionalism have never been called into question like this.  The problem I have is that I have no defence. I have no way of proving myself, short of revealing my identity.  I use a pseudonym because I staunchly refuse to compromise the privacy of my patients and my family.

I seriously doubt any of my "doubters" will read this.  But on the off chance one of you is reading this and got this far, ask yourself one question:

Why?

Why would I impersonate a doctor online?  What motive would I have?  What would I possibly have to gain?  Money?  I haven't make a penny off any of this and I don't expect to.  Fame?  Ha, no.  Respect?  I get enough of that from my family, colleagues, and patients, and I would hardly expect to get any real respect from random people online.  So why go to the trouble of such an elaborate hoax for so long?

The truth is that I started this blog for myself, so I wouldn't forget my stories, and so my children (when they get older) would know what Daddy deals with when he goes to work.  But it's evolved into more than that. 

I write now because I enjoy writing, and I continue writing because there seems to be a decent number of people out there who enjoy it.  It doesn't take long to write a blog post, just a few minutes here and there, and I wish I had more time to write a daily update.  But I don't. 

If no one else reads this blog ever again, I'll at least still have my stories for my wife and my children.  And for myself.  I don't do this because I have to.  I do it to inform, amuse, and educate.  

If you'd like to believe I'm not a doctor, you have the right to your opinion.  But I'm sure the scores, possibly hundreds of patients who are still on this Earth because of me and my team would rabidly disagree with you. 

30 comments:

  1. I've always enjoyed reading your stories, Doc.
    Being in and out of the hospital literally my entire life and having my life saved by surgeons not once, but seven times, has given me the GREATEST respect for them. (I've had both a cardiac and a neurosurgeon.)
    I can only imagine what it's like on the "inside", so reading your blog has given me a great deal of satisfaction.
    You save lives, and you educate not only your patients, but your readers as well.
    I've greatly enjoyed your thoughts on the Jahi case, I think it shows what kind of man you are, to feel so strongly about something, when you could very well be on the other side of the world from where that is happening.
    I am sorry to hear that your profession has been called into question, but these are the same people who think that brain death is not "the end".
    Their ignorance is unbelievable, but some people just refuse to acknowledge science and reason.

    I look forward to your next entry!


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  2. I wanna say so much because I LOVE your blog now that I've found it. At the end of the day though, you know the truth, the people in your life know the truth, and anyone else that needs proof of your medical degree to back up your presentation of facts...well they're just sad.

    Although I hate to say I look forward to future posts because it means someone is ill, wounded, aching, etc... such is the way of the world. So... I look forward to your future posts doc! Keep fighting the good fight!

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  3. I enjoy your blog. I spent years and years working in an emergency department. It's never entered my mind that you were a "fake". Your perspective is your own but the stories and situations you describe are all too familiar to someone who has spent time there.

    The people who claim you're a "fake" do so because you challenge what they WANT to believe. They are either so uneducated or so blinded by their fanaticism..whether that's their "right to life" ideology, their over the top brand of religiosity or simply because their victim status is so ingrained that they have to view this as the "system" taking advantage of the "powerless". I think he McMath true believers fall in to several "camps". But at their core they are people who don't want to have their beliefs challenged so they will attempt to discredit the messenger, whether that's the courts, the media, the public or the hospital and physicians.

    Keep telling it like it is. Some of us are adult enough appreciate a different perspective

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  4. The interwebz are full of people who have agendas of one sort or another, fanatics, and just plain cruel and ignorant people. It looked to me that the DocBastard isn't a real doctor campaign was because they wanted to discredit you in order to push their own nonsense. Since you made sense and presented actual, verifiable facts that contradicted the crap they were posting, your credibility had to be destroyed.

    I don't understand people like that, but that doesn't really matter. They exist in droves. Ignoring them is best as "Feeding the trolls" (as the saying goes) just encourages them to continue.

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  5. Having commented on various internet forums for years I've always found that when they start the personal attacks to try to discredit you it means that your comments are hitting the mark and they are threatened by that. It's hard not to take it personally at first. Then you just learn to let it roll off your back just like you have in your career. Those who do that are just part of the dumb shit in the dumb world you write about. Only in the cyber world they inhabit they say even more dumb shit they'd never dream about saying to someones face. Just keep ignoring them. They want you to engage so when you don't it drives them crazy,

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  6. fuck the disbeliebers. I actually get excited when a new post hits my inbox- I think this blog is fantastic.

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  7. Exactly! These people have a "Agenda" they popped up when the Shavio's got on the scene they are Paid "Right to life trolls".
    I'm sorry Doc. This is our Right Wing political system of "stupid" in this country speaking, the likes of who wanted to vote in Sarah palin as VPOTUS. This is the party of "Stupid".
    You can not argue with them. They have a agenda and if they can't shout your down they simply try to discredit you.
    I'm embarrassed. For my Country and them insulting you.
    I found you from the Jahi McMath and I will continue to read your awesome blog. I may not agree with all you write but respect what you say and know you are a person who CARES and SAVES lives.
    It is a ugly truth. The internet has connected me with people around the world and unfortunately the "party of Stupid". We ignore them and keep calling out their lies.
    They make America the laughingstock they insult our POTUS. They are the walking braindead of America. Perhaps that is why they won't accept that Jahi is gone...
    Ignore them Doc. We have a saying here...You can't fix stupid....

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    1. Can you please not being politics into this?

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    2. Yes, I agree. There are plenty of left-wing whack jobs that you can't argue with using facts and reason. I should know. I live in California. You're statement that you can't argue with "them" and they "should you down and discredit you" applies equally well to the left-wing. And I was unaware that we had a right-sing political system in this country. I won't be bringing politics into the discussion beyond this.

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  8. Jahi will heal given God's love. You said she's dead and can't heal. Since you're obviously seriously wrong you must not know doctoring 101 and thus must be fake.

    Ignore the inconvenient fact that God's love has never healed any brain-dead patient.

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    1. Except she's decomposing. If God wanted to heal her, he would have by now. She's dead. Her spirit/soul is gone.

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    2. sam - read Loren's last line. I think you'll find she agrees with you!

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    3. I interpreted that wrong, too. Sorry!

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  9. Don't let it bother you. When people start the ad hominem attacks it most likely means they are out of any real counterarguments so even if you lose in the mudslinging you won the debate.

    I look at it this way: I'm not paying any strangers on the internet to doctor me so it doesn't matter about the credentials. It only matters if their posts make sense.

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  10. Dear sir! I am one of your silent readers who have found you through FML, last year. I used to love your blunt replies that were painfully true! And later realised that you have a blog. I think I have read your each entry more than twice, however I have never commented before today. I want to congratulate you that you have one more admirer/wellwisher/student who read your blog, learn and agree to everything you write. I mean what is there that you write is not true? Anything and everything you write about is TRUE whether someone believes it or not! The reason I wanted to comment today was because I have read your entries about being sad on how you couldn't save some of the lives, and so on...but never have I really came across where you are sounding very disappointed by lunatics who started questioning you for the credibility of your profession just because you stand out there in minority to speak the truth. I understand that it's a story of virtual world where you're being mocked or insulted by ignorants, but no one will understand unless they belong to the field that it takes years and years of great commitment ( I am not even talking about practice and hardship we go through) to be a Physician. Though I am not there yet, but I assure you that I am very much impressed and encouraged by you for who you are. You are representing our profession the way it should be represented! You make me proud of myself for choosing the right path.
    These people cannot handle the truth, they know inside that they are wrong but they rather stick to their false beliefs and provoke others instead. Einstein said, "Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters." You are who you are, your family, your friends, your colleagues and your patients know it! And that is more than enough!

    Keep up the great work! God bless you and all of us, and may His mercy be upon lunatics!

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  11. I, too am one of the ones that found your blog while looking for information about Jahi McMath but I have been here every day. I enjoy reading your posts and will continue to do so. I'm an oncology RN and I know how tough looking at life and death every day can be. Keep up the good fight.

    My next comment is to cystalwolflady. PLEASE stop bringing politics into this discussion. It offends me. I am a conservative but I firmly believe Jahi is dead and just needs to be unplugged. There are wackos on both sides of the aisle so please just stop with the snide comments about right wingers and leave politics out of the discussion.

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  12. I have no idea how I found your blog, maybe because of FML I believe so but ever since I did, I have read every single post. Great job!

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  13. I believe you Doc. Agree also with your reasoning. I have enjoyed your posts, look forward to the new information and have forwarded several on to my sister. I am an RN (in L&D, not ER) and though I was fairly certain I could grasp the brain death concept myself, was having trouble explaining it to her as clearly as you were able to do. She got it. Now that Texas has let Ms.Munoz go, we can only hope that cooler heads in California will prevail for Ms.McMath. Thanks for your efforts!

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  14. I found your blog because I followed a link related to Jahi McMath, but have gone on to read every other post here because I enjoyed your writing and your tales so much.

    Please don't let the accusations of fakery get you down. I know it's hard to not take the vitriol personally (believe me, as a climatologist I have been at the receiving end of such remarks myself). What I've come to understand is that when people hurl hurtful comments, what they're really doing is giving expression to their fears that the world somehow isn't what they thought it was, and that the rug might get pulled out from under them. The best things you can do are take a deep breath, keep doing the best you can to educate, and remember that you're a force for good in the lives of others who appreciate you and your efforts. And once in a while, a little primal scream therapy and a good stiff drink can help ease the pressure if it starts to get to hard to ignore. :-)

    By the way, something I should tell you: The other day I read your post about saying thank you to your doctor, and it occurred to me that I hadn't yet done so with my orthopedic surgeon (I'm about 8 weeks post shoulder surgery, and doing really well in rehab). So when I saw him today, I made sure to say thanks for his skill and care in getting me to this point. I think my comment took him a little by surprise, but the smile was genuine, and he replied, "Well, I do this because it's fun, and I enjoy it. Happy to have been of help."

    So, DocBastard, thanks for giving me a tip that helped brighten someone else's day. And thank YOU for your refreshingly candid and entertaining perspective on the world of trauma medicine. You're a bright spot in the day for everyone who comes to read your blog with an open mind.

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  15. Dear Doc, you are darn right that you don't need validated by anyone out here in the spider web. There exists an ever widening fecal slick in the twitter current... it sticks more than expected sometimes, causing momentary panic. Prognosis: it washes away clean, without additional sequelae.
    My search for intelligent life surrounding the Jahi McMath case led me to your blog.
    I was pleased.
    My 14 y/o son wants to be a surgeon... trauma perks his interest at the moment. Your blog is mentoring him... I wouldn't let average drivel anywhere near my child much less serve as a guidance counselor. He's heard only my stories and advice thus far regarding a career in health care. So, your blog also validates me in his eyes in a way.
    Your stories are authentic, anyone who saves lives for a living sees that. Those who don't... well, they're the same ones you would file under #ignorant (or, perhaps #stupid)... *Disclaimer: Dear #Hashtag police, all uses of #s in this post are fictitious, any similarity to those found in social media land, real or perceived, is entirely coincidental.
    Have a good night Doc. And keep writing.

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  16. DB, only a person who works in delivering healthcare/patient care can share the stories you can. Former RN here, but I worked in an itty bitty hospital where the most scandalous thing was the errant aerosol can cap in an untoward place. I later worked in corrections where the stories are friggin' hilarious.

    Hell with the haters or doubters.

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    1. Am I the only one that wants to hear this errant aerosol can cap in the untoward place story?? Or rather more to the point the WHY it was there (although I'm sure I can guess) :)

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  17. Please ignore the idiots. Even if you were to show them your diploma and license, they will still claim it's fake. No amount of proof will ever be enough.

    There are plenty of intelligent folks reading and enjoying your stories, answers and comments, please keep on writing!!

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  18. The reason these people want to discredit you Doc' is that they want to believe you are not a doctor. If you are a doctor then you are educated and rational and worthy of respect and, worst of all, might just know more about medical issues than they do. They don't like what you have to say and so they want to believe you aren't a doctor. Attempting to prove that to others is really trying to justify to themselves why they can ignore the fact that you disagree with their irrational and ill-informed views.

    All you can do is what you have concluded: ignore it.

    Oh and read this: http://xkcd.com/386/ - always worth keeping in mind!

    For the record, I have no doubt that you are genuine, but actually it doesn't matter. I enjoy your stories and I'm interested in your views. If in fact you are an incredibly convincing fake then that wouldn't change. I would be sorry if this was all made up because the world could use as many thoughtful and compassionate doctors as it can get. Ultimately, however, the only people it really matters to are you and your family/friends/colleagues.

    Those who matter believe you and those who don't believe you don't matter Doc' - keep up the great work.

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  19. After reading this recent entry, I felt compelled to send a response.

    Firstly, I, like many of your devout readers, enjoy reading your pieces. I really can't put into words how much I admire your articulateness. I must admit, however, I was at first skeptical of your credentials (seeing as how I first came across your alias through FML), but as the months flew by, I started following your medical blog more frequently. Needless to say, my disbelief was soon dispelled.

    I'm also actually that you started this blog, for it gave me a tidbit into the daily life of a doctor. Compounded to your response to my email last year, little pieces of information like these strings of anecdotes gave me insight that is so very hard to actually find online.

    I know you initially started this blog for your children, but I'm glad that you're willing to share it with the world. Than you, Doc.

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  20. The people that are calling you fake need to take a good look in the mirror. You are doing a great job by educating people and exposing the truth, so don't take any notice of the trolls whose only purpose is to spread ignorance and lies. You rock, Doc!

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  21. DB,i have no doubt that you are a real doctor.I enjoy your writing style, because you say it how it is and it give's me a chance to learn.And that is the problem ,at least for the "prayer warriors" in Jahi's case.You have the knowledge and the arguments,they don't .What do they do? they call a fake,because then everything you say has no meaning.Education comes to those who look for it and i can't wait for your next story!

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  22. When your opponent resorts to an ad hominem attack, - instead of sticking to the facts of the dispute - they've lost the argument.

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  23. As one doc to another...don't ever forget...there simply is no cure for stupid...as much as we wish that there was. The internet trolls are always among us...and most of them get their kicks by pissing other people off (for no legitimate reason). Don't let them get to you. As a fellow physician, I appreciate your writings...because they always hit close to home...and are relevant to anyone in the profession. Keep up the good work! ;-)

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  24. This is why I love and hate the internet. Due to the rise of "anonymity" on the internet, people feel that it is okay to act in awful and inhumane ways. I would like to state that I believe that most of the people who harass others online would not do so in real life, but the internet gives the, some sort of fake power that makes them feel better about themselves. Which is why I am slowly hating social media so much. If I wanted to be ridiculed and feel bad about myself, I would have stayed married. I don't need negativity in my life, and if I do receive it, I always try to take the high road and move on. Although you are unable to show who you really are, just know that there are several people who love to read your blog, and believe in you. You have a wonderful group of followers, and I hope that means something more than a bunch of twits on twitter.

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