Crime in medicine

Richard W. Gibson, 42, a technician at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, stole the identity of a patient. The victim said, “Nobody seemed to empathize or care about this situation whatsoever, and my doctors and family wanted me to drop it . . .” which is the normal response to victims of crimes in medicine. “I felt completely ignored, frustrated and totally violated,” he said in a videotape played in Federal District Court.

Could having names for, and an understanding of, the various types of crimes committed by health care professionals improve the response of medicine to their victims? More than one author thinks so. See Description is Prescription.


Investigating this crime did not require knowing about medicine. Since it was the kind of crime that authorities outside of medicine are used to, they felt like doing something about it. Mr. Gibson was sentenced to 16 months in prison and will be required to pay restitution.

Instead of persistently pressuring victims to drop crimes committed against them in medicine, systems need to be erected to address them, especially when they need to be investigated by people with some understanding of how healthcare works and how crimes can be gotten away with there. Every state should have at least one police officer who is the go-to authority for crimes committed in medicine. For one thing, that way when the call comes in, when the police are looking for a way to deflect the caller, the caller can be deflected to someone who might actually be able to help.