There is something to be said for the United Kingdom’s Single payer socialized medicine system. It is over there and not here, and that is something to be thankful for. Also, it can really deliver a wallop when it comes to providing innovative care.

I guess that is two things to be said about it.

A hospital patient, identified only as “Patient A”, had suffered a workplace accident and was being treated for his injuries, when he purportedly fell out of bed and fractured his cheekbone. A doctor, who is described as a “groundbreaking facial surgeon”, decided that the best method for treating this patient was to punch him in the face. When that did not work, he had another doctor brace the man’s head against his body and hold it firm. Then he punched him in the face about 10 more times.

Maybe he should be known as a “face breaking ground surgeon”. I’d hate to see how these guys handle a pulled groin muscle.

The doctor, whose actions reportedly caused audible gasps from others in the treatment room, has been suspended from practice privileges, or “struck off” in the parlance of those who speak real English. A medical board has ruled that he caused “no real damage” to the patient, but that his conduct was “fundamentally incompatible” with his position as a doctor, and the punches could have led to “instantaneous blindness” in the patient.

For his part, this ground and face breaking doctor is defending his actions, saying that “Using a clinical ‘punch’, for want of a better word, is a recognized feature”. He compared it to other similar procedures, saying, “CPR techniques using a sternal thump have been used millions of times, and there's also a technique called Murphy's kidney punch used for a renal condition. I'm not accepting that I punched the patient. But I am saying that I manually reduced the fracture because he was not fit for surgery.”

He did not mention nipple twisting pectoral alignment, the wedgie hemorrhoid procedure, or the oft too utilized head noogie migraine treatment. I’ll tell you, those Brits are leading the world in alternative care.

The doctor also complained of the decision by the General Medical Council (GMC) to take him to the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service, saying it “contradicted” a decision by the General Dental Council to take no action against him. I personally wouldn’t put too much weight into the UK’s General Dental Council. The British aren’t exactly known for stellar teeth. For all I know the General Dental Council uses the same method there for something we call root canal. Or tooth extraction. Or tooth straightening. Actually, now that I think about it, it explains a lot.

The doctor in question, who is actually a well known professor in the UK (perhaps proving that those who can’t do, teach), told a local publication that he was “being singled out for trying to blow the whistle on wider concerns about patient safety in the NHS.” He claimed the GMC was “underpinning bullying of whistleblowing doctors by NHS Trust employers”.

I wonder if the patient (who fell out of bed in the hospital and wound up getting repeatedly walloped in the face) knew that he was part of a bigger plan to improve patient safety.

So, ultimately, I cannot say if this was a brilliant tactical treatment plan from a whistleblowing doctor who has many enemies within a monopolistic system, or just a really stupid way to treat a broken cheekbone. I am not a medical expert. But if I pull a groin muscle or break my pelvis, I ain’t going to see this guy.

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