Congressional testimony provided by USD professor

Congressional testimony provided by USD professor â�?�?Law punishes good doctors, hides bad doctorsâ�?�? A University of South Dakota associate law professor will testify Wednesday, May 14, before Congress, urging it to amend a federal law that he contends â�?�?punishes good doctorsâ�? and â�?�?hides bad doctors.â�? Michael Myers will testify at the Library of Congress as a 2008 Semmelweis â�?�?Clean Handsâ�? award winner in recognition of his advocacy for patients and physician whistleblowers. He will be participating in the annual Whistleblower Week in Washington, coinciding with the sixth anniversary of The Notification of Federal Employees Anti-discrimination and Retaliation (No Fear) Act of 2002, hailed as the first civil rights law of the 21st century. Myers, a former Mayo trustee and hospital CEO who teaches health law and policy at the USD School of Law, argues that the immunity provided hospitals in the Healthcare Quality Improvement Act allows medical staffs to set up â�?�?kangaroo courtsâ�? to destroy doctors who challenge practices that harm patients. â�?�?The doctor who suggests hospital physicians are performing unnecessary bypass procedures or ordering too many CT-scans is a sitting duck for retaliation,â�? Myers contends. â�?�?So is the physician who testifies in court on behalf of a patient in a malpractice case is vulnerable to medical staff sanctions. The â�?�?conspiracy of silenceâ�?�? is alive and well,â�? he asserts. â�?�?The good doctor who confronts todayâ�?�?s corporatized, profit-driven healthcare system risks having his or her career destroyed. Incompetent doctors usually slip off in the night,â�? says Myers. He has assisted physicians in challenging hospital sanctions; also, he assists patients through his management of the USD Senior Legal Helpline, providing pro bono legal information and assistance to persons 55 and older. The Semmelweis â�?�?Clean Handsâ�? award was established in recognition of Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis, who in 1847 pioneered the prevention of transmission of disease by washing hands, reducing the mortality rate due to Puerperal Fever by enforcing the washing of hands with chlorinated lime. For his contribution to humanity, Dr. Semmelweis was committed to a mental institution where he died from injuries from a beating by asylum personnel.

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