On a private Facebook group called the Divan des médecins, which brings together thousands of practitioners, sexist and discriminatory comments have been made by some of its members about their patients. An attitude that shocks the public and that will be investigated by the College of Physicians.
If you don’t know “The Doctor’s Couch”, you will be served. This is a private Facebook group that brings together more than 11,000 French-speaking doctors. Launched in July 2017, it is a place for discussion between health professionals.
In this place, “everything related to the profession is to be discussed in a fraternal setting, obviously with respect for each other, respect for medical secrecy and confidentiality of publications,” as stated in the group’s Facebook presentation.
However, in two years, there have been some abuses. A survey by the weekly Nouvel Obs, carried out from June 2019 and which led to the publication of a long file, reveals that some participants in this group made sexist, homophobic, racist and discriminatory remarks. Physical mockery of some patients.
Photos and videos, sometimes even concerning minors, were exchanged, with dubious comments. Comments reportedly numbered in the hundreds. Journalists received numerous screenshots from a dozen doctors who alerted them. In December 2019, the journalists were given full access to the group.
The Administrator Was Not Aware of These Comments
When questioned by them, the creator of this group, who is also a doctor, says that these comments, which are very rare and of which she was not aware, are only made by about twenty doctors, whom some colleagues describe as “straight white men who think they are above everyone”.
This attitude is reminiscent of another Facebook group called “Doctors are not suckers. It made the headlines in 2016 for similar reasons.
Even if the moderation of the group was not done by its administrator, it is obvious that Facebook should have been alerted by the contents published in the Divan des médecins.
Surprisingly, this does not appear to have been the case, since the administrator claims not to have been alerted.
The weekly’s investigation obviously provoked the vigilance of the College of Physicians. Its president, who was unaware of the group’s existence until he was informed of it by journalists, said the case “will be the subject of a full legal analysis to determine what procedures can be considered.
And procedures there could be, because some patients are recognizable in the exchanges between the different doctors, especially in some of the photos.
This naturally violates professional secrecy. A lawyer interviewed by the periodical explains that if a patient recognizes himself in the documents exchanged, he is entitled to take legal action.