OB-GYN Complains About Patient on Facebook — Did She Go Too Far?

pregnant belly stethoscope Veer

An OB/GYN at St. John’s Mercy Medical Center in St. Louis is in big trouble after complaining about a chronically tardy patient on her Facebook wall. Dr. Amy Dunbar posted,

So I have a patient who has chosen to either no-show or be late (sometimes hours) for all of her prenatal visits, ultrasounds, and NSTs. She is now three hours late for her induction. May I show up late for her delivery?

Needless to say, mothers-to-be, moms and people in general are outraged by the doctor choosing to discuss her patient publicly. Mothers on the Mercy Moms To Be Facebook page have voiced their concern over the post.

Here’s a shot of the feed that Jezebel posted and it includes comments from a registered nurse, a child psychiatrist, the OB/GYN and patients:

Photo: Jezebel / The Bump

Photo: Jezebel / The Bump

The hospital has since reprimanded Dr. Dunbar, citing that her comments are “definitely inappropriate.” The hospital has even gone so far as to review her previous Facebook posts to ensure that she hasn’t revealed any personal medical history or violated any privacy regulations.

But where should we draw the line?

Doctors (and nurses! and medical staff!) have right to complain about their workdays, in the same way that we meet girlfriends after hours for quick catch up and to vent our own frustrations. Dealing with no-show’s, late, or difficult patients is obviously frustrating for doctors. (The same way that we get annoyed beyond belief when someone shows up late to a work event, late to a meeting, unprepared for a presentation or doesn’t even bother to show at all.) The situation here is amplified because the patient is pregnant and the doctor is the one responsible for delivering the baby (and lets get real, there’s no way we’re okay with the delivering doctor showing up LATE to baby’s birth.)

But maybe Dunbar’s patient has a reason for being routinely late — and it would have been in the doctor’s best interest to discuss the issue with her patient before posting it to Facebook. Taking it to Facebook makes the doctor look childish, catty and much, much worse — unprofessional. How can you trust the relationship you’ve built with a doctor if she’s airing out all your business on the  very public Inter-webs? You can’t. The only saving grace here is that Dunbar chose not to include patient name or anything specific about the pregnant woman.

How does this make you feel?

Plus, more from The Bump:

When to Break Up With Your OB

Should I Go to a OB/GYN or a Family Practice?

What Happens at a Typical OB Appointment?