Sheri Fink – Medical Ethicist or Unscrupulous Journalist?
What kind of journalist with medical credentials utilizes those credentials to invade another doctor/patient privilege for the purpose of writing a book?
Woven within the “Five Days” story line regarding Dr. Pou’s arrest, are five different references to Ms. Fink’s contact with one of Dr. Pou’s patients, James O’Bryant, which is referenced on five occasions in the book. James O’Bryant suffered from a large tumor involving his maxillary sinus which required removal of the tumor and reconstruction of his face, including a 20 hour operation. Later, he developed recurrent cancer in the bones of his face, and ultimately died because of this.
In June 2007, without the knowledge or consent of Dr. Pou, Ms. Fink made an unannounced visit to the home of Mr. O’Bryant and his wife, Brenda. Ms. Fink told Brenda, that she was writing a favorable news article on Dr. Pou and wanted to talk with them in order to write the article. Because of the O'Bryants' great respect for Dr. Pou and because they recognized the ordeal Dr. Pou was going through at the time, Mrs. O'Bryant agreed in an effort to help Dr. Pou. Ms. Fink brought a tape recorder and camera and requested to interview and photograph Mr. O’Bryant. Brenda denied access to James who had a deformed face, but gave an interview to Fink. Upon learning of this invasion of the doctor/patient privilege by Ms. Fink, Dr. Pou protested Fink’s unethical actions.
In Fink’s response, she denied the allegation that she had “taken a photograph.”
Because you care tremendously about your patients in general and the O'Bryant family in particular, I am writing to assure you that I never asked to photograph Mr. O'Bryant as he lay dying. I would not engage in that sort of exploitation.
Please understand that my aim is to fully and correctly convey both the important events that you and your colleagues experienced and the outstanding people that you so clearly are. My research is extensive and painstaking because I believe with all my heart that you and the important lessons you have to share deserve a compassionate and accurate depiction rather than a shallow and sensationalistic one.
With regard to Ms. Fink’s response, Dr. Pou believes her patient’s wife’s account of this unseemly incident. Ms. Fink’s recounting of this treatment of James O’Bryant demonstrates Dr. Pou’s compassion for her patients, and is totally inconsistent with those who believe that Dr. Pou engaged in euthanizing her patients at Memorial Hospital. Most upsetting is that Mr. O’Bryant’s surviving wife, Brenda now realizes that she was misled by Fink who utilized her interview for a book which in general terms places Dr. Pou in the most unfavorable light. More importantly from Brenda’s standpoint, she must re-live all of the last moments of her husband’s life in a novel for the financial benefit of Ms. Fink.
Sheri Fink – Medical Ethicist or Unscrupulous Journalist? See the statement of Ms. Brenda O'Bryant. You decide.