On January 7, 2022, Medscape published an excellent op-ed piece entitled "PA Name Change Bad for Patients and the Profession" by Rebekah Bernard, MD, a Florida-based family medicine physician who co-authored the groundbreaking book Patients at Risk and serves as the president of Physicians for Patient Protection, a grassroots organization whose advocacy for physician-led care and truth and transparency in healthcare inspires our own mission here at MidlevelWTF.Patients at Risk
In the article, Dr. Bernard admits that "it hurt" to lump physician assistants (PAs) in with that other flavor of midlevel - nurse practitioner - but that she was forced to do so because, like NPs, PA leadership organizations (namely the AAPA) "have elected to forgo the traditional physician relationship model, instead seeking the right to practice independently without physician involvement" under the guise of innuocous-sounding euphemisms like "Optimal Team Practice", or OTP. Dr. Bernard also touches on the recent resolution by the AAPA to rebrand physician assistants to "physician associates" in order to inflate their importance to the public and blur the lines between physicians and midlevel providers. All in all, it was a very reasonable piece well-informed by fact and precedent, and no one should have really taken any offense to this, given that the AAPA itself is literally responsible for these initiatives.
Boy, were we wrong! Based on our surveillance of social media, it turns out there is a rather substantial proportion of physician assistants expressing disagreement with Dr. Bernard's article in ways that are straight-up vitriolic, if not downright extremist.
Wow, Mike. Petty and overreactive much? Because Medscape published an article you didn't like, your response is to "forget I ever existed"? Jesus fucking Christ, we've seen people break up with their ex in less dramatic ways. You must think that you're a really important dude or something to believe that Medscape would give a flying fuck about your hyperbolic email.
Oh, and by the way Mister Sacks, if you truly are the DO/MD ally (associate?) you claim to be, it's Doctor Bernard to you. And you didn't even bother to spell her first name correctly! Really, we would expect much more civilized behavior towards a physician from a member of the AAPA House of Delegates. Drank the Kool-Aid much? But then again, we can't really expect someone who obtained their "Doctor of Medical Science" 100% online from the prestigious University of Lynchburg to take professional titles seriously, can we? If you want people to call you "Doctor", Mike, go to a real medical school and obtain an MD/DO.
And here we have Dustin Goudeau, an orthopedics physician assistant in Pineville, Louisiana, coming in hot with a non-sequitur attack on Dr. Bernard's purported abundance of free time. Here at MidlevelWTF, we would venture to guess that a physician who has the time to not only run her own primary care practice, write a book, and vigorously lead an advocacy group such as Physicians for Patient Protection does not, in fact, have much free time. Dustin, if you have time to go fishing for largemouth bass, then Dr. Bernard sure as hell can spare the time to pen an op-ed on Medscape.
How rich for this PA by the name of Evan Davies to claim that Dr. Bernard "seeks only to encourage division and discord". Do we need to remind you, Evan, that your own profession's leadership organization, the AAPA, is the one pushing this "pablum"? Also, what the hell is an FRGS? Perhaps a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society? You too can become an FRGS for the low, low price of £118 pound sterling a year! In any case, how in the hell is that relevant to the PA scope of practice?
And here's a few more which can't be bothered to further comment on, because we've already beaten this horse deader than the fish in PA Dustin's profile picture.
All in all, do these physician assistants really think that a site as large as Medscape, owned by private equity behemoth KKR and one of the biggest online medical news and information sites in the world, gives a single fuck about their hurt feelings? It's called Medscape, not PA-scape. In any case, it's an idea more laughable than the pipe dream of physicians voluntarily agreeing to refer to physician assistants as physician associates. More concerningly, do these midlevels normally respond like this when presented with facts or information they don't like? Do they call up the cable company and ask them to delete the channel whenever they get triggered by something on FOX/CNN/MSNBC? Do they ignore their supervising physicians when they get told to do something they don't want to do? Get real. These entitled snowflakes need a fucking wake-up call and better coping skills.