The Curse of Legalism, and "Justice" that kills the soul

 

“Excerpts”: Tales From A Vermont Courthouse, Addison County Justice, by Peter Langrock

 

     In 1962, a Jewish doctor by the name Dr. Woodard, “[Had] personal goals [which] were focused on his patients and their health rather than on his pocketbook.” He had been given the rated privilege “B” for patient care.  “On one occasion a young girl, about nine years old, had been severely burned.  [Dr. Woodard] “tended to her admission, and carefully treated her.  He did so with sufficient caring and skill that not only did the patient recover, but the Addison County Independent ran a front-page article extolling Dr. Woodard’s skill and care…”.  Members of the medical staff gave complaint, however, that the treatment should have been done only by an “A” rated doctor; as a result, Mr. Woodard was demoted to “C” rating because of his violation of the defined hospital policy concerning patient injury/doctor qualifications.  Later in time, “a young child presented an injured arm which had been fractured.  The fracture was rather straightforward, and it was certainly within Dr. Woodard’s abilities to treat it.  He did so successfully.”  Once again the medical staff gave complaint.  Because of his previous demotion as punishment, Dr. Woodard once again had violated the defined hospital policy concerning patient injury/doctor qualifications.  Punishment this time resulted in expulsion of his surgical privileges. To shorten and conclude this true story, after humiliating and exhausting court process and public outcry (fortunately in favor of Dr. Woodard), he suffered so much stress that he had a nervous breakdown, and was institutionalized.  Three years after his expulsion from the hospital, he tragically committed suicide.

 

legalism- strict or too strict adherence to the law. -Webster's New World Dictionary © 1990

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