VIP syndrome: why do the doctors to the stars attain fatal mistakes?
Medical professionals who treat celebrities such as Prince and Michael Jackson are as susceptible to star power as the rest of us, and research results can be deadly
Anthony Mobasser, a Beverly Hills dentist, virtually swooned when he responded to a medical emergency and detected the patient was the screen legend Elizabeth Taylor.
It was an amazing experience. You have to act cool but youre sweating inside. I only feigned that she was any other patient and I calmed down.
That was in 1980. Since then Mobasser has treated many Hollywood starrings and still, to this day, can feel a frisson.
When were treating celebrities we have to go beyond our consolation zone. Celebrities demand much more than the average person and rightly so because they are in front of cameras and on the red carpet. But you have to know your restrictions. If you mess up, you have a problem.
In extreme cases, a dead celebrity problem. Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson and Joan Rivers are among the circumstances in which fame appeared to pressure, amaze or distract physicians into bad medication. The phenomenon has a name: VIP syndrome.
It is not new. Walter Weintraub, a doctor who coined the expression in 1964 , noted venerable examples. The well-known cases of such historical figures as King George III of England and King Ludwig II of Bavaria clearly demonstrate that the treatment of an influential human can be extremely hazardous for both patient and doctor.
With researchers probing the possible role of Los Angeles and Minneapolis-based physicians in Princes opioid overdose, the observation remains valid. Doctors who bend the rules to provide special care to special patients can end up killing them.
There are physicians who give things that build no sense, for example growth hormones to build person seem younger, said David Agus, a cancer expert who treated Steve Jobs. It builds the field look bad.
Before his death in 2011 the Apple co-founder bombarded Agus with quack redress. Agus, a professor of medication and engineering at the University of Southern California, said he repudiated them.
The challenge is to stand up to people. My medical practice is about tough love. Its very data driven. Steve fired me a hundred times and hed call me back an hour later.
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