My name is Aysun Alagoz, MD. I am an Obstetrician/Gynecologist living in Corpus Christi, Texas. I’ve been practicing medicine now for twenty-one years. The last four years I have been doing primarily Family Medicine due to a Sham Peer Review case in a small town about forty minutes east of San Antonio, Texas.
So what is Sham Peer Review? It is an adverse action taken in bad faith by a professional review body for purposes other than the purpose of quality health care and it is disguised to look like legitimate peer review.
So to further clarify:
Peer Review- defined as the evaluation of scientific, academic or professional work by others working in the same field.
Sham- defined as something that is not what it seems to be and is intended to deceive people or someone.
So a Sham Peer Review is a method unscrupulous hospital administrators and physicians use to discipline, then subsequently cancel a doctor’s hospital privileges mortally wounding her ability to practice in the community.
So, historically, it was always thought that doctors should police themselves. Medical Boards of each state are set up to make sure this gets done. Medical Boards exist to “protect the public” from bad, incompetent and otherwise unsavory doctors. Which of course used to mean doctors that abuse drugs or alcohol and scrub into surgeries “under the influence”. This has changed to the extent that multiple different behaviors- constituting a “Disruptive Physician” can result in a Peer Review case. All doctors that have hospital privileges are required to follow the hospital bylaws. If they deviate from these bylaws, they are subject to a Peer Review. Peer review members are other physicians with privileges at the hospital. In 1986 the HCQIA law was passed which stated that all members of the peer review committee shall be immune to lawsuits. Predictably, this has led to all types of abuse and corruption with those in positions of power.
The following is an excellent article about Sham Peer Review by Dr. Lawrence Huntoon who works tirelessly for the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.huntoon
Unfortunately most physicians don’t really care much about Sham Peer Review or really understand the ramifications of what can happen to their career if they are sucked into a peer review. Hospitals use peer review to silence potential whistleblowers within a hospital system as well. So basically doctors just turn away from dangerous or inappropriate care for fear of endangering their careers.
Patients need to care that this is happening to their caring and ethical doctors. Patient safety should be paramount. After all, these are HOSPITALS!! I hope to educate doctors and patients about this epidemic of physician silencing! I was silenced along with hundreds of doctors across the country. I have survived the colossal hit and am continuing on with my life- not my specialty though. That has come and gone. I have now survived two malpractice cases- one resulting in a malpractice trial, a medical board inquisition, where I some how managed to avoid a physician health program, and a Sham Peer Review. And yet all I ever wanted to do was take care of patients. I never imagined I would have to fight so hard to hold on to the only career I ever wanted.