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Cops and Mobbers

We’ve recently been contacted by an ophthalmologist that has been a victim of “mobbing”, and would like to raise awareness of the issue.

What happened was this: the ophthalmologist was aiming for a more senior position that had opened up within the hospital. A person e-mailed that ophthalmologist’s head of department, stating that they had a new technology that they wanted to develop with both of them, but that this would have to be performed at two sites: the head of department’s hospital, and the other hospital where the aspiring ophthalmologist had just accepted a position.


The problem was that the ophthalmologist in question had done nothing of the sort, and had no intention of changing jobs. The person e-mailing, on investigation, did not exist – he or she was using a pseudonym. The motivation for this particular episode of mobbing isn’t clear – it might have been a jealous colleague, a competitor for the position from another hospital or even just a motivated troublemaker. But the event could have seriously jeopardized not just the professional relationship between the ophthalmologist and the head of department, but also the aspiring ophthalmologist’s career prospects. Furthermore, pursuing a civil or criminal investigation, involving court orders to force internet service providers to hand over their records, would be a slow and stressful process – something that isn’t going to help either the physician or their patients.Ophthalmology is an exciting and potentially very lucrative specialty with some of those at the top reaping handsome rewards for their time and effort. Gossip and backbiting occurs to a certain extent in almost all workplaces, but with so much money and status at stake, it’s worrying that it in some cases, it can potentially turn criminal.

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About the Author
Mark Hillen

I spent seven years as a medical writer, writing primary and review manuscripts, congress presentations and marketing materials for numerous – and mostly German – pharmaceutical companies. Prior to my adventures in medical communications, I was a Wellcome Trust PhD student at the University of Edinburgh.

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