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Reader's view: Doctor deserved better than public reprimand

After reading the News Tribune report on the Minnesota Board of Medical Practices ethics committee review of Dr. Fred Ekberg, I felt the headline could have read, "Physician reprimanded for caring for his family." (Instead, the Jan. 30 headline r...

After reading the News Tribune report on the Minnesota Board of Medical Practices ethics committee review of Dr. Fred Ekberg, I felt the headline could have read, "Physician reprimanded for caring for his family." (Instead, the Jan. 30 headline read, "Duluth doctor reprimanded by Minnesota medical board.")

I have known Ekberg as a friend and physician for nearly 20 years. He was my radiologist when I was battling cancer in 2004 and played a significant role in my recovery. Not only did he excel at interpreting complex scans and providing compassionate counsel, he offered me support at every turn. So it troubles me deeply to see a talented physician and decent human being endure this kind of scrutiny and propaganda.

While I understand the pressure on the medical industry to demonstrate its control over the distribution of pharmaceuticals, (as evidenced locally by a recent series of high-profile News Tribune articles regarding the perceived abuse of certain pain killers), what should have been a private matter resolved among peers is now public record. I wonder, during Ekberg's ordeal, who, if anyone, was asked to speak on his behalf.

I question the judgment of the ethics committee, especially as it applies to establishing a precedent for physicians treating family members; moreover, I view the News Tribune's abstraction of the board's documents as muckraking.

Ekberg is an honorable man and deserved better.

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John Steffl

Duluth

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