Friday, October 13, 2017

Doctor loses his patience with a patient, kicks her out of his office...

This morning, as I was waking up to another Friday, I read a news article about a doctor in Gainesville, Florida who lost his temper with one of his patients and kicked her out of his office.  Granted, the article in question is by Britain's Daily Mail, which has a bit of a tabloid feel to it.  However, I have found several other articles about Dr. Peter Gallogly from other news sources and I watched the video made by the patient's daughter.  There is no question that Gallogly lost his shit, started cussing, and kicked the lady out of his waiting room.  He is now being investigated by the police.  So what happened?

It seems Jessica Stipe had been very sick and presented herself to the Gainesville After Hours clinic where Gallogly works.  She wasn't there under emergency conditions; she had an appointment for 6:30pm.  Stipe's minor daughter was with her and had brought her iPhone 7+, which she later used to film Dr. Gallogly.  Ms. Stipe, who had apparently had a urine test done, was upset because she was still sitting in the waiting room at 7:45.  She explained that she wanted to go home and get into bed and had apparently demanded her co-pay.

According to Dr. Gallogly, Ms. Stipe refused to leave the waiting room and was "abusing" his staff.  So he came out to deal with her and that's when their confrontation turned profane and apparently felonious, as the doctor grabbed the iPhone as Stipe's daughter was recording.  The phone was returned, since the video is on YouTube and other places on the web.  However, Gallogly is now being charged with grand theft, a third degree felony, since the iPhone was valued at between $300 and $5000.  He is not being charged with assault and battery because Stipe's daughter was not injured when Gallogly shoved her and grabbed her phone.

I believe that the doctor lost his cool and behaved very poorly.  Unfortunately for him, the evidence of his poor behavior is on film and there is no denying that he did what he was accused of doing.  He should have not cursed at Ms. Stipe and her daughter and he should not have put his hands on her.  

However, it sounds to me like Ms. Stipe was behaving in an unreasonable manner.  Granted, it's hard to be patient when you're feeling sick.  And I will also grant that it sucks to be sitting in a waiting room for over an hour, although it does sound like the workup had been started on her.  We don't have any film of her swearing at the staff and being abusive, but witnesses have said that she was antagonizing Gallogly's staff.  It's also rather suspicious that Stipe's daughter was so prepared to film the altercation with the doctor.  I know everyone has a phone and most of them have cameras now, but I don't think I would have thought to film something like that.  I certainly would not have thought to film when I was a teenager, even if the technology had existed then.  I would have been too shocked. 

I don't know what kind of a doctor Gallogly is, but I do think his reaction was probably provoked.  It sucks for him, too, because there are going to be a lot of people who will place full responsibility on him for the way this situation turned out.  In some ways, watching that video reminded me of my days waiting tables and dealing with people who are just plain shitty to people who serve them.  I had people yell at me many times, treat me like their personal servant, and just be flat out rude to me.  While many people do still respect doctors, I think people in general are becoming less and less civil.  

I hate to say it, but that doctor resembles another Florida doctor I wrote about a few years ago.  The other doctor, name of Brian Lee, was based in Pensacola and was reputed to be eccentric and kind of rude to his patients.  It turned out he was convicted of traveling to meet a minor intending to engage in sexual conduct.  Not that I'm saying Gallogly is anything like Lee... I only mention it because they kind of resemble each other physically and they are both Florida doctors.  I'm not sure what Lee is doing these days.  I would hope he's out of the healing business.  I see that he got a shockingly light sentence that didn't involve prison.  

In any case, it does appear to me that Ms. Stipe was behaving badly, but Dr. Gallogly was reacting badly.  And unfortunately, that could mean that he will pay for his bad reaction to a patient's bad behavior.  

2 comments:

  1. I checked the doctor out because I was curious. He's board-certified in family medicine, which is appropriate for that sort of a clinical setting. The majority of practitioners in those clinics seem to be nurse practitioners, physician's assistants, doctors of osteopathy, licensed physicians with no specializations (i.e. GPs), and doctors with specialties who are temporarily out of work and working in the interim using their GP status, which all licensed MDs have by virtue of their degrees and internships.

    There's plenty of blame to go around in the particular incident. It's inexcusable except in the most extreme of situations, when patients should be informed of what's going on, that a doctor shouldn't have begun examining a patient within seventy-five minutes of the patient's appointed time. If it's a work-in appointment, the patient should be advised of such and told that the wait could be very long. I suspect that the front office staff was hesitant to refund the patient's co-pay because she had been given a urine test (probably a routine nitrite screening; the strips cost maybe a buck) and afraid of being hollered at by the hothead doctor. A member of the staff should have immediately advised the doctor that a patient was very unhappy with the wait time and should have asked for permission to refund the co-pay despite the urine test having been administered.

    The doctor is probably lucky that the laws exist as they do in Florida. In many states he would have been charged for having touched a minor without consent in a non-self-defensive manner. I didn't know a person could be charged with theft for grabbing another person's cell phone, then handing it back. I'd go for a jury trial on that charge if I were he.

    I'm hesitant to say this because it will make me come across as highly prejudiced, but I've known people who looked very much like the woman, and they were all low-class troublemakers. Regarding the daughter, I don't know where to begin. It's almost as though the filming of the incident was pre-planned, which would make the incident itself pre-planned. Obviously I cannot know this for certain. I did find it rather ballsy that a child or teen would point a camera at a doctor and demand that he state his name. I'd love to know where else this mother-daughter duo has stirred up controversy.

    All of that being said, why in hell did the doctor not just calmly ask them to leave, then call the police if they refused to do so? I would hate to work either for or with Dr. Gallogly.

    Some specialists who practice in multiple sites schedule all twenty of their patients at the beginning of their stint for the morning or afternoon -- sometimes so many they can't all fit in the waiting room. I find it an incredibly rude practice and wouldn't return for a second appointment with a doctor who did that to me once. Sometimes there are unforeseen delays, such as one doctor being called out for an emergency while another doctor has to see his or her own patients as well as those of the MIA doctor, but too often it's a case of a doctor thinking his time is so much more valuable than everyone else's is that he overschedules rather than risking the unlikely eventuality of (it's usually a male doctor when a doctor is THAT rude) having to wait a few seconds for a patient.

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    1. Yeah... it's really an unbelievable incident all the way around. And yet, there it is on YouTube. They all acted like shit.

      I'm sure it was unpleasant for everyone else in the vicinity to witness.

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