Monday, October 3, 2011

Physician Associate or Physician Assistant

I found this article on Dr. Kevin's blog; A physician assistant writes to the doctors of America

This is very typical of medical personnel these days. This physician assistant wants to be referred to as a physician associate. This term further muddies the water as far as just exactly who is treating the patient. I don't know about you, especially if you are in the health care world, but an ASSOCIATE is an MD who works with your doctor, as in a PEER. (Common usage of the term in my world.) An ASSISTANT is somebody who is capable of ASSISTING the doctor.

If you look at my patient charts you will see that the physician ASSISTANT has been upgraded to the position of my DOCTOR! I didn't know this person and I certainly didn't HIRE him to be my surgeon. Who authorizes this change? Certainly not ME and I'm the one paying the bill! I CONTRACTED with a real surgeon, whom I expected to have FULL medical training, spanning years and years, not an assistant whose training is only 2 years.

If you have read some of my statements regarding the quality of my surgery, I am more and more convinced that the surgeon I hired relegated his surgery to the PA. According to the article linked above, this is something that PA's feel that they should be doing... But I didn't hire a PA to do my surgery! Doesn't that matter, or am I so insignificant that I don't deserve to have the surgeon I chose (bad choice, but that's another story) do the surgery?

I waited and waited for my surgeon to come and explain exactly how the procedure would be done! Instead, apparently, a substitution was made, and my surgeon never appeared. The substitution was never revealed to me. I discovered this by examining my medical records where it listed Travis as my new and unknown to me, surgeon. Travis NEVER explained to me who he was, why he was in my room, or told me that he was my new surgeon, let alone that he was a physicians ASSISTANT in a position of authority and under the guise of somebody who was going to pretend that he was equal in every way to the surgeon. Imagine the confusion if this physicians assistant could claim that he was an associate of the surgeon. By which terminology I would have assumed that he was another MD! Would he have told me that he was an associate? Or would he still have decided to conceal his entire role in my care? I thought he was yet another nurse. This is all illegal, but where I went laws were not relevant to care.

It absolutely AMAZES me that medical people are so narcissistic as to need to write an article like the one above. They want to be called something that they are not in order to feed their own ego, the patient be damned. If PHYSICIAN'S ASSOCIATE is now going to be considered the preferred term, then it follows that the office personnel, janitors, nurses, significant others etc. can also be considered associates of the physician right? These are the people that the physician ASSOCIATES with! Words mean something in the real world that the rest of us outside of health care inhabit. Stop trying to obfuscate the issue!

Did my phony doctor actually perform my surgery? Where was the real doctor whose job includes a lot more than showing up hours late in the OR, after the patient is drugged? Why is any of this OK in the medical world? If somebody hires ME, I can't then substitute somebody unknown to my employer! I can't send in a person whose training includes driving a school bus, say, instead of a full tractor trailer rig, in my stead! (different licenses and scope of training) Why is this fine at the hospital? What ever happened to THE LAW on this subject being followed?

I've seen this insufferably arrogant attitude in crna's, np's and now physician assistants. Any wonder why we patients are getting riled up?

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