The recent suspension of a New York City doctor who failed to report a gunshot wound suffered by a football star is an opportunity for hospitalists to revisit their own reporting requirements, the president of SHM's NYC chapter says.
Josyann Abisaab, MD, of New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, was suspended after treating New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress on Nov. 29. Less than a year after catching the winning touchdown pass in the Giants' Super Bowl victory, Burress, who told police he accidentally shot himself in the thigh at a NYC nightclub, has been suspended by the league and charged with criminal possession of a gun.
"I was not aware that something like this needed a report to the police," says Bradley Flansbaum, DO, MPH, chief of hospitalist services at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan and president of SHM’s NYC chapter. "It opened up space in my brain. If I were confronted with this, when would I know when to and when not to call the police?"
Complicating matters is the fact hospitalists may have to report issues to more than just law enforcement; depending on diagnoses and patient histories, doctors may have to notify state and federal health agencies or social service departments. Rules vary by state, so Dr. Flansbaum says hospitalists would do well to brush up on their requirements and liabilities.
"I may not know the rules," Dr. Flansbaum said, "but I certainly would speak to the right people here and ask them: 'What are my obligations? How do I protect myself and the patient?' " He recommends hospitalists verify local requirements with their hospital administration.