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U.S. consumer watchdog takes aim at MD protest:

E-mails regarding february doctors' protest publishedMedical Post

WASHINGTON - An exchange of e-mails among doctors involved in February's protests against soaring malpractice premiums has led a major consumer watchdog to accuse doctors of ''putting patients at risk for cynical political ends.''

Doug Heller, a senior consumer advocate with the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR), called the action ''moral malpractice.''

The e-mails were said to be taken from a Web site maintained by Dr. Steven Shikiar, one of the organizers of the New Jersey protest and vice-president of the Hudson County Medical Society (www.HCMSDoctors.org) and then published on the FTCR site (www.consumerwatchdog.org/healthcare/rp/).

They offer, said the FTCR, ''a rare glimpse at the cynical strategizing behind the scenes among doctors who staged the walkout.''

Protest plans

The leaders of the New Jersey protest strike spoke of their intention to ''cause confusion,'' not reschedule cancelled patient appointments in order to ''significantly inconvenience them,'' and to ''ostracize'' colleagues who refused to take part ''both professionally and economically just as any other scab.''

FTCR--a non-profit, non-partisan organization based in California that has studied the medical malpractice crisis--said the doctors ''have shown their real intention is not to protest insurance premium hikes but to terrorize patients, colleagues and the public into becoming converts to their cause.''