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Whistleblower Protection

In the grand scheme, whistleblowers are rare and uncover very little of what is wrong. They are important and needed, but they solve only a very tiny percentage of the problems harming patients.

Why isn't here more whistleblowing? Beyond questions of gray areas and the general inability of people to perceive problems in the face of what authority figures lead them to believe, there are the personal dangers it presents. In spite of laws and regulations against retaliating against whistleblowers, their career prospects are diminished, if not destroyed. They are branded as traitors.

It is easy for people in charge to rationalize retaliation, like say, denying a promotion, as not being payback, but rather being because the person is not a team player, according to Dr. Kirk O. Hanson, executive director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University.

Even without retaliation, whistleblowers should be aware that most cases are not settled in their favor. For example, in 2014 the Securites and Exchange Commission received 3,620 complaints about federal securites fraud. Only nine of those people received a reward.

This can be because of insufficient proof or injustices in the system according to Dr. John M. Thornton, a professor of accounting ethics at Azusa Pacific University.

It also can be because of definitional problems. According to Dr. Stuart Sidle, director or the Industrial-Organizational Psychology program at the University of New Haven, "It is useless just to talk about unethical behavior. Everyone is against fraud. Everyone is against disrespectful behavior, but how is it defined?"

People think one way when they are outside of a situation and another way when they are in charge of it. At the Constitutional Convention, when the laws of the United States first were being established, when a clause was being written to restrict Congress' ability to suspend habeas corpus, Thomas Jefferson asked why they ever should be allowed to suspend it. But when he became president he tried to suspend it.

The Obama administration stated its commitment to transparency, but then pursued a record number of criminal prosecutions against whistle-blowers for leaking information to the press, even when the disclosures were done out of an honest desire to serve the public interest. 

No matter what health care professionals state as being their highest priority, they have the power and they want to keep it.

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I don't cover more about this here because there already is so much on the web. Below are thoughts about searches to do.

On March 14, 2007 the United States House of Representatives passed HR 985, the The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2007. Mostly it restates current law. But if you look it up, perhaps you can find a way to be protected while you do your good deed.

An article very much worth reading is in Fraud Magazine, an industry periodical for CFEs (Certified Fraud Examiners), called "Be Prepared Before You Blow The Whistle" by Patricia A. Patrick, Ph.D., CFE, CPA, CGFM

Wikipedia has more too:

"The Whistleblower: Confessions of a Health care Hitman" by Peter Rost.

“Extraordinary Circumstances: The Journey of a Corporate Whistle-blower” by Cynthia Cooper.

If you want to speak to a lawyer about blowing the whistle, here is a firm that specializes in it: http://www.whistleblowerinfo.com/. Their site says that they offer a free consultation.

A pharmaceutical industry whistleblowers story:

It is the right thing to do and the world needs to have it done, but it usually does not go well for the whistle blower.