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Electronic

Medical

Records

One of the most critical reasons why we need to end the war on drugs is because of its abuse potential.  The war on drugs is a weapon that many providers use carelessly, destroying lives and careers before they begin by tampering with patient medical records.

Electronic Medical Records (EMR) were created to follow a patient from cradle to grave.  From now on, a physician will be able to look at  a patient's history and determine what allergies a patient has, or if the patient has ever used a certain anti-biotic and the outcome of a flu.  A physician who is seeing a patient for the very first time will be able to make decisions without ever asking the patient a question in many cases.  If a patient goes out of town and forgets to take medication, the EMR will be available to pharmacies throughout the nation and eventually the world. 

THE DARK SIDE OF EMR

Logically, a bad physician can destroy a patient's life just by entering a phrase like "SPEED ABUSER" into an EMR.  A 16 year old's whole life will suddenly be eclipsed!

In Feb and March 2003, I was sexually assaulted in an examination room of the San Mateo North County Clinic by Dr. David Cecil Gershan who still practices there.   So subtle was his approach that I didn't even know it was sexual abuse until Dale Parker, a health educator at Pace Clinic in San Jose called it that, but the statute of limitations on physicians is only one year and because of that I was unable to press charges since the time had elapsed. 

It was a warm sunny day in Feb 2003 when I drove my Mazda B3000 pickup truck to the clinic.  I was nervous because my partner, Brian, had an appointment with Dr. Gershan that was directly after mine.  I tried to think how I was going to approach the doctor; I just knew he would be angry that neither of us called it in sooner, but Brian's cell phone rang just as we were walking out the door and when it was a recruiter, all else got dropped, that's how bad the market was back then.

When I walked into the clinic, I asked the front desk receptionist if we could finally get me enrolled in the Well  Program so I could have insurance.  She waved me through quietly, and that annoyed me quite a bit.  I wasn't earning a dime, living off of my savings and no one wanted to enter me into the program.  (I later learned this was a discriminatory practice).

When I was called inside the office, I braced myself. As soon as Dr. Gershan whizzed by with his labcoat fluttering in the air like a sail, I excused myself. 

"I'm sorry, Dr. Gershan," I said a little uneasy, "I just wanted to let you know that Brian was just called by a recruiter before we left.  He was asked to go on a job interview this morning.  I know that he had an appointment to see you, but he apologizes and hope you'll understand that we havn't been working all these months and I'm afraid that --"

"Well, I wish him luck and hope he gets the job," Dr. Gershan said with sincerity. 

I smiled.  "I hope so too," I said. 

"You know, this might be a good day to give you a full body examination.  Did you ever have a full body examination?" Dr. Gershan said.

I hesitated.  I tried to think.  What the hell was a "fully body examination" anyway. 

"I -- I think so,"  I said.

"Oh, but you've never had one of my full body examinations," Dr. Gershan said as he walked about from one counter to the next.  I could barely keep up with him.  "I'm very thorough," he added.

I was feeling so relieved that Dr. Gershan wasn't angry at Brian.  But now I was overjoyed that my physician was going to utilize the time to examine me from head-to-toe.  I started gathering together questions in my mind that I had been wanting to ask someone for such a long time, like why the hair on my legs was no longer growing up to my ankles the way it once did, why the bunion on my left foot returned despite surgery that I had the year before, and after using Minoxidyl for years, why was I still prone to alopecia?