Rebekah Bernard MD and Niran Al-Agba MD|

Many of our critics accuse us of exaggerating the risks that patients face when physicians are replaced by lesser trained members of the healthcare team.  We are often told that we are engaging in a ‘turf war’ with nurse practitioners and physician assistants and that we should support these nonphysicians practicing ‘to the full extent of their license and training. ’  Today we are going to explain exactly why we take such a hardline stance against the independent practice by nonphysicians. It’s not because of a turf war – it’s because of patients like seven-year of Betty Wattenbarger, who died after a pediatric nurse practitioner failed to diagnose her with pneumonia and sepsis, an overwhelming blood infection.  Betty’s father, Jeremy, is on a crusade to ensure that other parents do not lose their children because of a lack of access to care by a properly trained physician.

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