Boeing Exploits Physicians

An unemployed patient desperately looking for work presented me with this deceptive plea for my help from Boeing company doctor William M. Waring, M.D.

Dear Health Care Provider...

Please complete the following to help us determine if he can safely be played in this position.

I. Diagnosis/Treating Condition

II. Objective Findings / Comments:

III. Please answer the following even if it does not seem to impact the job hired for. Thank you!

  1. Do you have any concerns regarding job performance, safety, and/or compliance with medication and/or medical conditions? Yes/No
  2. Can he

a. Work at unguarded heights?

b. Work around dangerous moving machinery?

c. Work in isolated areas?

d. Work in confined spaces?

e. Drive company vehicles?

It does not take a genius to figure out what responses (to these poorly written questions) I must enter to give the guy a chance at getting the job he wants, but since the company doctor apparently feels no ethical constraints in asking a treating physician for whatever will presumably keep himself in good graces with his employer while maximizing their profits and limiting liability, it falls on me to choose how to “help” the Boeing Corporation without sacrificing my duty to the patient. I attached the following disclaimer:

“My responses to the items in the attached reflect my understanding of the actual meaning of the questions as described by Dr. Waring in a telephone conversation on 5/12/2015 rather than the literal meaning.

“Nothing should be construed as my providing an opinion to the Boeing company which in my opinion would constitute ethical misconduct, nor am I acting as an agent of the Boeing company.

“As a physician I am concerned with the safety, medical conditions and compliance with treatment of all my patients. Job performance is between the patient and the employer. As for what the patient “can” or cannot do, my responses reflect only the fact that I am aware of no evidence that he cannot perform any of the the tasks listed. I have not asked him or tested him, and it should be obvious to even the most naive of medical professionals that, aside from specific phobias, psychiatry involves no relevant evaluation.”

"For to a folysshe demaunde behoueth a folysshe ansuere." - William Caxton or as my mother would have said, “If you ask a stupid question, you’ll get a stupid answer.

At the risk of providing even more free assistance to the company doctor I offer a few comments on the items on the “form:”

  • I can only guess by including the request for “objective findings” Dr. Waring hopes I will indicate whether the patient shows signs of life. I wrote that he was “alert and oriented.” I hope that helps.
  • As my attachment implies I cannot imagine a question about “concerns” yielding anything but useless information.
  • Likewise, I have little to offer as regards what a patient “can” do at work.
  • I do not test patients at “unguarded heights” (whatever that means).
  • I do not evaluate patients “around” moving machinery, dangerous or otherwise. Perhaps all moving machinery is dangerous, but I can hardly address the question without know how close or distant “around” means.
  • As for “confined” spaces, I remain at a loss, and again do not test patients’ ability to work in elevators or sleeping bags.
  • As far as I know the patient drives to his appointments. Does that prove he can drive a “company vehicle?” What difference does it make whether the car belongs to Boeing?

Some free advice Dr. Waring: If you want to know what a job applicant “can” do, I suggest you test them yourself or hire someone else to do it. Surely the great Boeing Corporation has the requisite resources.

I resent the presumption of companies, and their shills, who hold patients hostage in order to exploit us. They can only get away with doing so if we continue to submit. I encourage you to refuse to participate in such questionably ethical non-clinical activity.

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