Famous Whistleblowers

There are many great examples of famous whistleblowers and famous whistles in the medical industry. Because this industry is dependent upon trust: those charged with our personal care are in an extremely important and powerful position. They have access to private information and power over decisions that can affect our future health and quality of life. While the vast majority of healthcare providers are honest and caring individuals, there are those who seek to profit from fraud, abuse, or neglect. Medical whistleblowers help to hold those persons accountable.

Most whistleblowers in the medical field are those who have information of illegal or negligent activity within a practice or field and come forward to report it to the appropriate State or Federal agencies. Sometimes they may also feel compelled to take their story to the media if the authorities ignore their complaints or charges.

Let’s have a look on examples of famous whistleblowers.

Famous Whistleblowers

Peter Buxton

There are many examples of famous whistle blowers in history. One of the most important to the medical community was the case of Peter Buxton in 1966. Mr. Buxton was an epidemiologist at the time and as a result of patient interviews he uncovered a horrible experiment being conducted by the U.S. Public Health Service in the African American communities. Under a false premise, the USPHS, in cooperation with the Tuskegee Institute, were conducting a study of the progression of syphilis in African American males. They did so by promising free medical care while withholding the truth about the subject’s condition, as well as withholding treatment already in existence. After the US Public Health Service ignored two formal ethics complaints, Peter Buxton went to the media. The story broke and the study was cancelled. Important laws protecting all individuals receiving medical treatment also came out of the case.

Wendell Potter

An example of recent whistleblower cases is the story of Wendell Potter. Mr. Potter worked in the PR department of one of the largest health insurance companies in the US. While on a trip to Virginia in 2007, Potter saw the appalling conditions in which low income families were being treated at a free clinic. His resignation and advocacy, as well as his whistleblowing have led to many of the recent reforms in our healthcare system.

The Importance of Whistleblowing

While the famous whistleblowers make the news, not all of the cases come to public attention. However, whether public or private, whistleblowing is an important part of keeping our healthcare industry accountable for their practices. Whistleblowers may come from any industry or field. For example there are the cases of Frank Serpico who testified about police corruption in 1971 and Roy Olofson, who testified against a large telecommunications company for their use of aggressive accounting practices he believes led to their insolvency.

There are now many laws and protections for whistleblowers, as well as support networks that provide protection and encouragement to those who take the hard step of blowing the whistle on the companies they work with or for. Hopefully the stories of some of these famous whistleblowers will inspire you to do your part in keeping the medical and health care industry accountable.The Importance of Whistleblowing
While the famous whistleblowers make the news, not all of the cases come to public attention. However, whether public or private, whistleblowing is an important part of keeping our healthcare industry accountable for their practices. Whistleblowers may come from any industry or field. For example there are the cases of Frank Serpico who testified about police corruption in 1971 and Roy Olofson, who testified against a large telecommunications company for their use of aggressive accounting practices he believes led to their insolvency.

There are now many laws and protections for whistleblowers, as well as support networks that provide protection and encouragement to those who take the hard step of blowing the whistle on the companies they work with or for. Hopefully the stories of some of these famous whistleblowers will inspire you to do your part in keeping the medical and health care industry accountable.