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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Girl on Film

Back to blogging with my three co-bloggers!  Each week, one of us chooses a topic and we all post a blog entry on that topic, usually on Thursdays.  (Usually we are on time.  Usually.  Ok, mostly.  Sometimes?  Don’t judge me.)

Here are the links to the other fabulous blogs:

Merryland Girl           
Moma Rock

            This week, Froggie chose, and her topic came with a visual.  She attached this video/article, (which shows a Miami doctor assaulting an Uber driver and then kicking at police) and stated the following:  This individual is now on administrative leave until her employer can determine if there are grounds to terminate her.  This brings up the question as to whether or not an individual’s job should be in jeopardy because they had a meltdown (indiscretion) in public, outside of work hours, that was recorded and posted online.  Share your thoughts on this matter.

            The lawyer in me (that evil witch) reared her head almost immediately and answered for all of me, yelling,  “Should she lose her job?  Of course she should!”  The reason is simple, if not purely “legal”:  liability.  By doing what she did – even outside of work hours – this doctor has shown herself to be a liability.  And her employer has to protect itself.  It’s that simple.

            It comes down to this:  if something were to happen where this doctor lost her cool at her job, she’d be sued and the hospital – as her employer – would also be sued.  After this video, there would be no way for that hospital to say it did not know this doctor had the capacity to behave this way.  The hospital knows.  Hell, the virtual world knows.  The doctor has now become a liability, or at the very least, a potential liability.  In our litigious world, the hospital needs to be smart.  It needs to investigate what happened and, if need be, discharge her from employment.  I wouldn’t want to be treated by her, and I don’t believe I am alone.  That’s not to say that I was not aware that even doctors make mistakes, it’s that I’m not a fan of being seen by doctors (or any professionals) who have shown that level of loss of self-control.

            I realize the bigger question involves the “should” posed by Froggie.  My answer was easy to give, but do I like my answer?  As I said, I know people make mistakes, that people sometimes do one thing and never do it again.  I like for other people to have the capacity to forgive and move on, and I want to be able to do that myself.  So, in that way, no, I don’t like it.  And, yes, I hate that the world is as litigious as it is.  I spend chunks of my days defending some of the most ridiculous lawsuits you could imagine, and it sickens me.  Lawsuits used to be about being made whole; now they are seen as lotto tickets.  I hate that corporations have to worry about being sued over everything, that liability is first and foremost on the minds of people on both sides of the fence.

            But that doesn’t mean what happened to that doctor shouldn’t have happened.

            I’m going to cheat here and bring in the topic I missed from two weeks ago, when it was Moma Rock’s turn to choose and I was laid up with some virus that wreaked havoc on me.  Moma Rock’s topic was, “Respect,” and I think that plays a role here.

            Sadly, we live in a world where personal responsibility is virtually nonexistent.  People seem to apologize now only after they are videotaped misbehaving, after they are caught.  There’s no respect for each other; really, there’s little self-respect, either.  Even apologies are qualified:  “Yes, I did it but it wasn’t my fault because ... ”  The Internet has become a policing agent of sorts; you have to assume anything you do can be caught on video and shared with the world.  It’s not a comfortable way to live, but if it helps even one person learn a lesson as to respect (self or otherwise), then maybe it’s not such a bad thing. 

            I know my view is tainted, both by law school and a decade and a half of practicing law.  To even be admitted to the legal bar, I had to fill out an unbelievably long and thorough application – and you can be sure that if a video like that of me had been floating around, I would not have the ability to add “Esq.” after my name.  Maybe I want others held to that standard.  If we no longer, as a community, possess the ability to control ourselves, maybe, just maybe it is okay for that control to be applied externally, through YouTube or Facebook or wherever else people post videos like this one. 

            I hate to think that someone’s entire career will be destroyed by a single act of bad judgment.  And I hope that isn’t the case.  But I can’t fault the doctor’s current employer for protecting itself, and for protecting its patients.  Were I representing the hospital, I would have advised them to do exactly what they did.  An ugly outcome, a bitter pill for sure, but no worse than an episode of drunken rage aimed at a stranger and caught on video.             


  1. I kind of thought of it this way in terms of liability and stuff. More about safety and credibility too.
    I agree that people are quick to apologize when they get caught and shamed. If she hadn't been caught, would she have done anything about it after the fact?
    Great post!

    1. I hate seeing the world through the liability lens, but it's reality, sadly. We live in a strange new world ...

  2. I never really looked at this from the legal standpoint, I appreciated your views on this. I really hope she can come back from this, and not have her entire career upended, too. We live in crazy times, where everything we do is under scrutiny!

    1. Sadly, I always see the world from that standpoint. Which is why I worry that I'm jaded. I'd like to think she can turn it around, maybe do some volunteer work and build up her soiled reputation. On the upside, we all have short attention spans, and this will be forgotten when the next video pops us.