Regarding Dr Gale's Debacle

From: <>
Subject: Regarding Brian Gale's debacle

I've followed the discussion about Brian Gale's situation with his podiatry  license. He needs to be supported by the members of the Podiatry societies and organizations. He's being peer reviewed to ruin unfairly and improperly. 

The situation needs to be remedied.

For any reader who doesn't already know, "peer review" in the medical sense  is that process where doctors police themselves, reviewing the practice of  their peers to insure that good medical care is being practiced in their  vicinity (usually a hospital setting). What many laymen do NOT know, however,  is that peer review is a process which can be subverted to the agenda of
unscrupulous physicians (and hospital administrations), and used to attack the competition, or to run doctors out of the hospital or community for other reasons.

The problem is, "peer review" is protected by law. Doctors (and  administrators) participating in formal peer review have "qualified  immunity," which means that if they do their peer review job in "good faith" and without malice, then even if they make a mistake, they can't be sued.

After all, they're just trying to keep patients safe and keep medical care at  its highest level. But this immunity can be a shield for the dishonest, as  they know that unless they're caught red-handed, they cannot be sued for  using peer review to run another doctor out of a hospital or even out of a  state. The good-OLE-boy club rules! [A real eye-opening account and  discussion of the evil uses of  peer review  has been written by Dr. Ron  Virmani, who has experienced it first hand!]

However, in Louisiana, one case of bad faith peer review was recently shot down by a jury. In other words, the doctor victim PROVED that the peer  reviewers and the hospital operated in bad faith (that is, maliciously), and  he won a SIX MILLION DOLLAR JUDGMENT (even though a judge mistakenly through out the jury verdict, forcing an appeal). The report was in the New Orleans Times-Picayune!

 Finally, peer review attacks on otherwise good doctors can be deadly. A good  (and hence successful -- read "competitive") obstetrician was set upon by  "colleagues" in the New Orleans area. She was run out of hospitals, turned in  to the state medical board for false allegations, her license was suspended  by the board and held hostage for 2 years, even though they had no credible  "evidence." When she tried to work in Florida, where she had a license  already, the Louisiana doctors and lawyers pursued her there, keeping her from getting privileges in various hospitals, so that she "down sized" her living quarters. She was trying to keep going, fighting on multiple fronts,  trying to support 6 children and a couple of lawyers, and DIED in a fire
in  her small temporary apartment in Florida. She was hounded to death by "peer review".

We must do everything we can to fight such terrible tragedies, and stories like Brian Gale's.

Joseph Pastorek, MD, FACOG, FACS
Metairie, LA
Board certified OBGYN
Board subspecialty certified Maternal-Fetal Medicine