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Medical Whistleblower Brochures 19 Retraumatization

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Medical Whistleblowers are usually workers who have attained professional competence in their field. Medical Whistleblowers have access to information at a high enough level to be able to detect medical fraud, abuse and neglect but also brave enough to alert others to the problem. Because they often are in the healing profession, Medical Whistleblowers often provided comfort to others and were the strength that others rely on. Most Medical Whistleblower’s are originally of a very strong constitution. They are usually self confident adults who have good self esteem and were fully capable of handling difficulties in their own lives. Therefore Medical Whistleblowers have many coping mechanisms to hide the emotional damage the retaliation has caused them and just try harder. But under extreme or prolonged stress even very emotionally strong people often undergo an apparent personality change. It is inappropriate and even dangerous to make long term assumptions about a person by observing their reactions under stress. It is also important to remember that there needs to be intervention from outside to protect the whistleblower and prevent further retaliatory abuse.

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Medical Whistleblower Brochures 19 Retraumatization

  1. 1. M E D I CA L W H I S T L E B L OW E R # 19 Worry Free Rest Needed Preventing Re-Traumatization Medical Whistleblowers are usually workers who have attained professional competence in their field. Medical Whistleblowers have ac- cess to information at a high enough level to be “I discovered long ago that among the most able to detect medical fraud, abuse and ne- glect but also brave enough to alert others to effective advocates the problem. Because they often are in the I have seen are the survivors, those who Supporting the Emotional healing profession, Medical Whistleblowers have channeled Health of All Whistleblowers often provided comfort to others and were the their pain and anger into activism to achieve and their Friends, strength that others rely on. Most Medical Whistleblower’s are originally of a very strong lasting reforms.” Supporters and Families. constitution. They are usually self confident Attorney General, Janet Reno, adults who have good self esteem and were fully capable of handling difficulties in their August 15, 1996 own lives. Therefore Medical Whistleblowers have many coping mechanisms to hide the emotional damage the retaliation has caused them and just try harder. But under extreme or prolonged stress even very emotionally strong people often undergo an apparent personality change. It is inappropriate and even danger- ous to make long term assumptions about a MEDICAL WHISTLEBLOWER person by observing their reactions under stress. It is also important to remember that P.O. Box C there needs to be intervention from outside to Lawrence, KS 66044 protect the whistleblower and prevent further Phone: 360-809-3058 retaliatory abuse. Fax: None Tel: 360-809-3058 E-mail: MedicalWhistleblower@gmail.com
  2. 2. retaliated against usually feel ashamed of what is hap- the perpetrators to switch the focus of attention Post Traumatic Stress pening to them, and by the time they seek help are away from their own abusive behavior by inferring, likely to be already showing signs of stress breakdown. (usually under the guise of sympathy and support), At the point these competent Whistleblowers finally that the person they are targeting is mentally ill, and admit they need help, they are likely to present as over that it is their "mental illness" which is responsible Psychological violence can eventually lead to Post -emotional. In these circumstances it is all too easy for the current problems. Whistleblowers need on- -Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which is a nor- believe the person's account of workplace psychologi- going reassurance that they are not to blame for mal reaction to abnormal circumstances. PTSD is cal violence or bullying as over-reacting when in fact what has happened. Referring stressed people for not usually an indication of long term or underly- the symptoms of emotional stress should be recognized work-based counseling helps perpetuate the myth ing problems in those who suffer from it. Whistle- as actually corroborating what they are saying. that it is the person who is the problem, rather than blowers who are being bullied should be encour- the working environment. It is important that em- aged to seek support sooner, rather than later, Secondary Traumatization ployers and service providers take stress reactions and should be able to do so with the assurance seriously and remove the Whistleblower from the The persons whose misdeeds the Whistleblower is re- that they will be believed and effectively sup- stress before the damage becomes more serious or porting, often retaliate by fabricating complaints ported, rather than be treated as if they them- permanent. Medical professionals, who are gener- against the Whistleblower. These fabricated com- selves were the problem. ally highly committed people, are particularly likely plaints do not need to even have the appearance of to ignore their own symptoms and struggle on, These competent whistleblowers under the ef- truth in order for the bully to be protected by the Good since seeking help is too often regarded as an ad- fects of workplace bullying and whistleblower Samaritan Laws and their false allegations protected by mission of weakness or professional inadequacy. It retaliation may become unassertive, over- governmental immunity under Peer Review standards. is crucially important that those providing help and anxious, compliant and even unable to cope with People may also disbelieve the Whistleblower, and support to the Medical Whistleblower, do not mimic even the most trivial of stressors. The symptoms side instead with those in power or authority. Co- the effects of the trauma and inadvertently cause of stress breakdown and PTSD are frequently mis- workers may ridicule him/her, abandon, blame, ostra- secondary trauma to the victim of retaliation. If the understood (by family, friends, co-workers and cize, sabotage, threaten, and betray him/her. These support offered is too directive and/or controlling, employers) as those of inadequacy or inefficiency. painful and dangerous reactions can come from family, however well-intentioned, there is a danger that it There is a danger that stressed and/or bullied friends, and authorities as well as from people associ- will be perceived as replicating the whistleblower Whistleblower could find themselves facing disci- ated with the perpetrator. Co-workers may fault the retaliation or bullying, so reinforcing feelings of plinary proceedings when what they really need Whistleblower for the hostility in the workplace. The powerlessness and causing further stress and dis- is rest and support. Some typical human reactions Whistleblower may be unable to recover until they tress. Do not put stressed/bullied whistleblower to severe and persistent stress are the loss of leave the stressful position, but may be unable to find a back into the same stressful/bullying situation and emotional control, apparent over-reactions to new position until they have recovered. Employers, expect them to "prove" themselves. Long term solu- seemingly trivial stimuli, showing hyper- therefore, need to be aware of the potential for com- tions require the full involvement of the stressed vigilance, and being on constant alert for further pounding the problems of stressed/bullied Whistle- person, but should wait until he/she is first rested abuse. Being targeted for Whistleblower Retalia- blowers by unjustly disciplining them. Where the stress and reassured. tion almost always leads to feelings of powerless- has been caused by workplace bullying, it also allows ness in those targeted. Those who are being

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