BY REBEKAH BERNARD, MD
When you experience a medical emergency, you expect to be treated by a licensed physician with expertise in your condition. What happens when you look up from your hospital gurney to find that the doctor has been replaced by a non-physician practitioner with just a small fraction of the training and experience?
From the co-author of Patients at Risk: The Rise of the Nurse Practitioner and Physician Assistant in Healthcare, the first book to warn of the systematic replacement of physicians, comes Imposter Doctors, an even more frightening exposé of patient endangerment at the hands of for-profit corporate entities and healthcare conglomerates.
WHAT READERS ARE SAYING
WHY THIS BOOK MATTERS
In the two years since Patients at Risk debuted, the employment of non-physician practitioners has continued to skyrocket. While advocates insist that nurse practitioners and physician assistants are ‘just as good’ as physicians, they are wrong. Despite over fifty years of scientific analysis, there is no conclusive evidence that non-physicians can provide safe and effective medical care without physician oversight. In fact, recent studies have shown the opposite:
The replacement of physicians puts patients at risk.
The only cure for today’s healthcare crisis is for patients to become informed about who is providing their care. We must all know the difference in clinician education and training, and demand answers from those who would deprive us of physician-led care.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rebekah Bernard MD is a Family physician with over 20 years of experience. She is the co-author of the book Patients at Risk: The Rise of the Nurse Practitioner and Physician Assistant in Healthcare (Universal Publishers 2020) and is an author/ speaker on the topic of physician wellness and practice management.
Dr. Bernard received her medical degree from the University of Miami and completed her residency in Family Medicine at the Florida Hospital in Orlando. She currently owns her own direct primary care practice in Fort Myers, Florida.
CHAPTER 1 – THE PHYSICIAN SHORTAGE: A MANUFACTURED CRISIS
Seven-year-old Betty was the light of her family’s life. “Betty was life, and she was happiness. We used to call her ‘Wonder Betty’ because even though she was autistic, she was making amazing progress,” said her father Jeremy Wattenbarger during a Patients at Risk podcast recording. “We were starting to see things in her that we were told were never to be expected. She was becoming verbal. She started riding her bicycle and running and interacting with other children.”
When Betty suddenly developed a fever, Jeremy called her pediatrician who was unavailable but suggested that Betty be evaluated at a local pediatric urgent care. That seemed reasonable to Jeremy, who assumed that an urgent care would be like an emergency department. “In fact, this one advertised that they had the same capabilities as an emergency room and everything they needed to diagnose and take care of her,” he said.
Photos taken of Betty in the urgent care waiting room showed a child that appeared quite unwell. Her expression is listless, her eyes sunken, and her lips dry, cracked, and tinged blue.12 Indeed, measurements of Betty’s vital signs showed concern that she wasn’t getting enough oxygen, with a pulse oximetry reading between 88–94% (normal over 95%).
Jeremy said that he and his wife assumed that the clinician in the white coat who came to evaluate Betty was a physician. They were wrong. In fact, there was no physician on-site at the urgent care that day. Instead, Betty was treated by pediatric nurse practitioner Madeline Broemson, who diagnosed the child with influenza, a viral infection, and discharged her home. Jeremy remembered, “She told us that Betty just had the flu; that her lungs were clear, and everything was fine.”
But Betty was not fine. She slept throughout the day, and the next morning, Betty would not wake up.