About That "Do No Harm" Clause ...

By Christine Cupaiuolo — December 17, 2008

A woman is suing the doctor who delivered her baby nine months ago, claiming his painful methods and condescending attitude toward her and the hospital staff made the birth a hellish experience.

According to the Chicago Tribune, “Dr. Scott Pierce — a fill-in for [Catherine] Skol’s doctor who was out of town — arrived four hours later and immediately chastised Skol for not calling ahead. The suit said the doctor told Skol she would soon have the baby and that there was no time for pain medication.

“Later, Pierce allegedly told a nurse that Skol deserved the pain because she had not called before coming in. ‘Sometimes pain is the best teacher,’ the suit quoted him as saying.”

There’s more. At one point Pierce told the mother to “”Shut up, close your mouth and push,” according to the civil suit filed in Cook County.

Rush University Medical Center, where the delivery took place, said in statement that Pierce, who is in private practice and is not employed by the hospital, was disciplined with a written warning and indefinite probation following an internal hospital investigation. Pierce declined to comment.

12 responses to “About That “Do No Harm” Clause …”

  1. What a bastard! I would have thrown him out of my room and had a nurse catch the baby if he’d been my deliver doctor. I’m glad he’s being sued. I hope it teaches him and other doctors like him a lesson.

  2. I wish I could say I was surprised. I wish I could say I haven’t seen or heard of worse. I am not being sarcastic when I say I am surprised this is news. Stuff like this happens every day.

    As much of a jerk that this doctor seems to be, what about the women who are induced and/or have unnecessary cesareans due to the doctor wanting to keep on some sort of schedule? I know of a case of a doctor berating a woman over the phone, telling her to accept his order of pitocin to augment her labor, even though she was contracting and dilating just fine. He actually said it was because he was covering for two other practices that weekend whose doctors were on vacation, and he wanted her to have the baby before the evening was over. He hung up on her after telling her off, and made her cry.

    She agreed to the pitocin, which increases the labor pains, so she opted for pain meds she didn’t want to use originally. The baby was born in less than three hours. Not only was the pitocin unwarranted, but it caused her to have a precipitous labor, which puts her and the baby at more risk.

    And you know there are a gazillion stories about unnecessary cesarean. I just met a physician last week that had to fight to get an ob/gyn to agree to let her have a trial of labor after a prior cesarean for previous twins. And she’s a doctor!

    As for the case in the newspaper. she is accusing the doctor of rupturing her membranes and lying about it, but that is hard to prove unless the nurse or someone directly witnessed it. Bags break all the time spontaneously in labor, or upon vaginal exam. She probably wasn’t going to deliver with the bags intact no matter what. So, lying is bad if he did lie, but rupture of membranes is normal physiological birth stuff, unless it is done way too early, which was not the case.

    The vaginal exam she had sounds awful, but I can’t tell you how many I have witnessed with women screaming “no” or “stop it, it hurts!”. While I am not advocating rough vaginal exams or forcing them on women, if she had an epidural for her other four deliveries, she may just have had no idea how much a vaginal exam can hurt late in labor if you’re not anesthetized. Most of the births I attended were at a birthing center without epidurals, and I would say almost all of the women said “No” or “it hurts!” or “stop” in at least one of their vaginal exams. I know I did for every single one of mine.

    I can understand the argument for doing less vaginal exams, but you need to know her dilation before she can push at a minimum.

    I found the link to the full complaint. There are some mistakes or misconceptions in the case that I can see, and some really confusing details. For example, the case claims that she is not at higher risk for hemorrhage because she is not a grand multipara. 1. She is a grand multipara. She is having her fifth child. That’s pretty damn multiparous. 2. That is hardly the only risk factor for hemorrhage. He should have explained what her risk factors were if he was saying she was at risk for hemorrhage. There are even more misconceptions in the comments.

    From my experience, ob/gyns have little to know supervision in hospitals. They set their own protocols as long as they are not outrageously violating accepted standards of care.

    I seem to be defending him. I’m not. I think lying to her, berating her, and being a general rough jerk is deplorable. But, I am just surprised that this case made the news. It was probably the shut up comment that did it. But when does rudeness become malpractice? There are lots of rude doctors out there. I am all for disciplining them, but I am not sure if malpractice suits are the way to go.

  3. OK, I meant to say “little to no”, not “Little to know”. Is that a sign of dementia?

    And, my “prove you’re a person” word was broad. How appropriate!

  4. Mr. Pierce has a new logo for his stationary….

    right across the top it now says “Shut Up And Push”

    How do you feel about this?

    I think it’s outrageous that Mr. Pierce is trying to capitalize on a tragic episode to earn funds to fuel his legal defense!

  5. Dr. Pierce recently saved my wife’s life and delivered a healthy baby during a very complicated delivery. He is the most capable physician I’ve ever met. We don’t know how to express our enormous gratitude to Dr. Pierce and his professional and talented staff.

    I know Dr. Pierce. This is a man that trained his entire life to answer the call of the most complicated challenges in the delivery room and handles some of Cook county’s most challenging cases. He dedicated his life to saving lives. He is extremely good, very bright and has the cleanest legal and complications track-record of any physician we considered to deliver our son – and we considered all of Chicago’s most capable. We also reviewed candidate’s civil litigation histories. We know healthcare extremely well as I work in the field and my wife is an attorney. We have Chicago (U of C and Northwestern) trained doctors in the family. Dr. Pierce has the respect of his patients, the students he trains and the Chicago medical community. This respect was not given easily – but was earned one delivery and a time, year after year, over 2,000 times.

    Let’s review the facts… this woman delivered a healthy baby. She is sitting at home on disability (committing fraud) with 5 kids and is desperately trying to extort money from a man who has dedicated his life and talent to facilitating the birth of new life.

    I’ve explored the public facts of this case and have drawn the following conclusions. Her claim is a lie. Her motives are corrupt and contemptible. Her attempt at this coercion is a hideous affront to the justice and prudence our system is meant to uphold. She is a despicable predator in a city that tolerates crime and permits the victimization of those seeking to help others. This woman is the poster child for corruption and abuse of power in the Chicago community and Police department.

    Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that the corrupt and personally destructive pariah’s in our city try to tear down those dedicated to saving lives. There comes a time in our lives that we must stand up against the liars, cheats and thieves or risk setting the precedent that this type of extortion is ok. It’s not. Shame, shame, shame on you. I pray to God that he forgive this woman’s wanton and detestable sins.

  6. Was the attending nurse or other attending physician called on to testify? Since some are claiming Skol made up the whole story, I would love to hear what the other folks in the room say took place.

  7. He saved your wife’s life? I know… She was going to “hemorrhage” right? Just like this patient. All made up!!!

    A “very complicated delivery” right? NOT! He just makes it look hard. Again, all made up!!!

    He wants you to think he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread, but in reality he’s just tooting his own horn and feeding his own ego.

    If you think you know this guy, then why was he kicked off staff at Rush Memorial, one of the top hospitals in Chicago? And why did the state put his license on probation for ONE YEAR? Because a patient lied? I don’t think so.

    You want to review the facts? If her claim is a lie, how come everyone else in the room has reported the same story? They were there and say it’s the truth. So, when you say her claim is a lie, what do you bias your opinion on?

    Then you accuse her of committing fraud because she is on disability. What do you bias THAT opinion on? Apparently the people who count don’t think it was fraud. But you think, without knowing JACK about her case, that you can call it fraud! Where do you get off? Because your wife is an attorney? Maybe you should consult her before you write things like that.

    You say you work in the healthcare field. Why don’t you talk to some of this nut’s medical school classmates, many of whom will be coming to the trial, just to see him get what he’s got coming? Or talk to some of the people he has worked with and let them tell you what an ass he is.

    You think just because the baby was born “healthy” that no harm was done? We’ll see if a jury agrees with you.

    And you think this misogynist is the one who was victimized? Think again. It was this patient who was victimized.

    And you think he’s dedicated to saving lives? He’s dedicated to his ego, and that’s it.

  8. To D.Morant ….. That’s what makes this Malpractice Suit so unique and slam dunk as one might say! Hospital Personal have given written statements which collaborate the patients account of events. My opinion ….. Shut Up And Push Pierce needs psychological help! I thought the civilized world was done with Hitlers! How Rush hospital didn’t see this coming is beyond me!

  9. I don’t think much of this doctor’s bedside manner and I doubt many other self respecting doctors would either.

  10. Today, with the wonder of the Internet, any idiot with something to share has a voice as large as those who want to listen.

    We have that right here.

    Any normal person , and I say normal because pierce is Not, gets goose bumps from reading about this incident. I’ll post a link to the original legal complaint filed with the court for those of you that would like to read it.

    What makes this horrendous incident so credible is the numerous witnesses that have come forward in the complainant’s behalf. These are honest caring professional hospital staff that have put their likelihoods on the line because they know in their hearts that Pierce’s actions are not only very harmful but extremely abnormal.

    Here’s the link: http://www.thaimed.us/wp-content/uploads/dr-pierce-patient-complaint.pdf

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