Prognosis Ohio

124. Preying on Patients: Dispatch Reporters Max Filby and Jennifer Smola Shaffer

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Skinner, Filby, Shaffer at the WCBE studios
Mike Foley

Dan Skinner talks with Columbus Dispatch reporters Max Filby and Jennifer Smola Shaffer about their investigative series, Preying on Patients. Topics include possible reforms for the medical board, and the role journalism plays in bringing these stories about sexual misconduct to light.

On episode 124 of Prognosis Ohio, Dan Skinner talks with Max Filby and Jennifer Smola Shaffer, two Columbus Dispatch reporters about their investigative series, Preying on Patients: State Medical Board failed to protect Ohioans from doctors' sexual misconduct. They discuss their findings, possible reforms for the medical board, and the role journalism plays in bringing these stories about sexual misconduct to light.

Read anop-ed Dan wrote in the Columbus Dispatch about why Preying on Patients is so important for health professionals and health professionals in training to read.

1:25 - About Community Solutions’ Legislative Fact Sheets
2:40 - About Preying on Patients
4:00 - The problem of language in understanding physician sexual abuse and harassment
5:45 - What does “disciplined” mean?
10:08 - Reforming the Ohio Medical Board
12:38 - Investigative health journalism and transparency in public records
16:40 - Physicians, Power, and Trust
20:32 - Response to “Preying on Patients” and how medical schools, residencies, and hospitals/systems can use the series
24:00 - Credits

In their investigation, Filby, Shaffer, and Wagner learn that since 1980, at least 256 Ohio doctors have been disciplined by the medical board for sexual misconduct, and that “the medical board failed to protect Ohioans from serial sexual abusers and harassers despite a clear, decades-long pattern of doctors preying on patients.”

In a follow-up story, Max reported that the medical board will be adding investigators, and they expect this to lead to a rise in complaints.

Max also mentioned Senate Bill 322, a piece of legislation last year that would better protect patients from doctors who sexually abuse or harass those in their care. The legislation went nowhere last year but may be reintroduced at the Statehouse this session.

In the intro, Dan mentioned some helpful legislative fact sheets, which Ohioans can use to understand the relationship of various data points to legislative districts. Check them our before you talk with your elected representatives. Or, if you’re an elected representative yourself, just check them out! You can also read this really interesting post by Angela Maher and Emily Campbell about making the factsheets.



Hosted and produced by Dan Skinner. Engineering support provided by Mike Foley at WCBE. Copywriting and production support by Angela Lin. Prognosis Ohio is a member of the WCBE Podcast Experience and the Health Podcast Network. Prognosis Ohio is a production of Prognosis Ohio, LLC.

Dr. Dan Skinner is Associate Professor of Health Policy in the Department of Social Medicine at Ohio University, Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, on the Dublin, Ohio campus. He earned his Ph.D. in political science from the City University of New York. Skinner teaches and researches about, as well as advocates for increased access to health care, especially for underserved populations, as well as various aspects of social determinants that affect the health of communities, in Ohio and beyond.
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