Should We Trust Our Healthcare Professionals?

Should We Trust Our Healthcare Professionals?

Sebastian Usher, Staff Writer

Do we trust our healthcare professionals? Are they prone to abusive practices? Where are abusive practices most common? What do you need to look out for? These are all questions some might have thought up while or after visiting a facility or clinic, but is there any truth to it? 

Ms. Fournier, a teacher at Waltham High School who teaches Health Assisting and has a Master’s in Nursing, reports that people are more likely to find abusive medical practices (facilities who intentionally inflict harm either physically, mentally, and/or financially) in individual practices, and less likely at large facilities such as hospitals. 

Fournier says that professionals are less likely to “mess up” at large facilities, while at individual practices, they are more likely to go unchecked. This is most likely due to the fact that professionals at large facilities (as in the case of Ms. Fournier) earn their salary through an hourly wage, and not based on procedures performed. Because of this, there is no incentive to pressure a patient¹ into a procedure for self gain. 

While researching this topic, I learned about a dentist who performed unnecessary and expensive procedures on his patients. These practices were unnoticed for a long while, most likely because they were performed by a single professional at his own clinic. The truth was only discovered after he retired. (The Atlantic

In fact, after further research, I soon realized that this is much more common. Other stories are on patients in individual practices who were pressured into procedures, to others charged with fraud for their practices. 

It is not just individual practices where people are at risk. Fournier says that the most at risk of abusive practices are people in eldercare as well as those who are under-privileged. 

And it isn’t just abusive practices. Some, like in the case of a Texas family, who were recently awarded $95 million dollars after a botched procedure was performed by a dentist. What was meant to be a routine root canal and crown, led to the young patient suffering a seizure. The dentist did not take the proper action to resolve the situation, and the girl was left with permanent brain damage. (nydailynews)

Despite this, Fournier says that she thinks facilities are well monitored, so incidents of abuse may be less common than we think. Even individuals starting their own clinic are required to have licensed providers overseeing their practice, which means they should be well maintained. 

From my research, I found that it is best to get a second opinion from another professional on any procedure that has been recommended to you, especially ones you aren’t sure about, or ones that don’t seem right (such as a procedure that doesn’t aline with your health, etc, “live-saving surgery” when you are perfectly healthy). If procedures seem out of place, or are overly expensive, getting the opinion of another is the best way to decide whether or not it is best.



1 – For the sake of this article, I am calling all patients of a facility “patients” instead of clients or residents.