Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The one where Ganns thinks Joel Mendez is fighting a losing battle

So Dr. Joel Mendez decides to fight back.

Mendez has filed a P10-million libel suit against Regina Laud, who accused his clinic staff of botching a hair removal procedure that allegedly left burn marks in her armpits and legs. He say she besmirched his reputation and caused him severe business losses when she appeared on television to talk about her alleged misfortune on Oct. 6, 2005 at the Body and Face by Mendez clinic, where we, the public, are told the following took place (as per Inq7 article):

* She had a hair removal operation
* The clinic staff who performed the operation was not Dr. Joel Mendez
* She suffered first-degree burns on her armpits and second-degree burns on her legs as a result of the "doctor's lack of training" and the "faulty machine."

Libel or no libel, Dr. Joel Mendez disregards the fact that the clinic staff who performed the operation performed it in the name of Body and Face by Mendez. It is Dr. Mendez's responsibility to ensure all staff, doctors or otherwise, are properly trained to perform the procedure; otherwise, the procedure should not be done. It's simply command responsibility: the operation took place in his clinic, performed by his staff, using his machine.

Mendez says Laud implied he was "incompetent." A doctor who is unable to perform an operation correctly is not only incompetent, but dangerous. Now what would one call an administrator who hires incompetent personnel? Would it not also be incompetent, for that administrator's inability to determine his personnel's capacity to display well the skills for which the latter was hired?

So where can Dr. Joel Mendez win his case? If he can successfully prove Laud lied. According to the Inq7 article, Dr. Mendez cites in his lawsuit Laud's appearances on ABS-CBN programs “TV Patrol” and “Homeboy,” in which she complained about:
1) the “doctor’s lack of training”
2) the “faulty machine” in his clinic;
3) the clinic having no first aid kit;
4) the staff having to buy painkillers to alleviate the pain she felt after the procedure; and
5) the offer of P700,000 to “settle” the case.

If Dr. Mendez can prove Laud is a faulty witness, he's got himself a case. Meanwhile, the good doctor also has the opportunity to use the same medium to air his side. If, in Joel Mendez's eyes, Laud is fighting dirty, he, too, can fight dirty, but what good would that do? His business is "on the verge of collapse," and Laud has lifetime scars for her ordeal. Either way, there are no winners in this little passion play.

Addendem: Cathy and I were talking about this last night, and she couldn't help but wonder about what would've happened if Mendez took the high road, apologized for the incident and helped Laud with her pain, like Johnson's and Johnson's did with Tylenol. If Laud were treated well, would she have gone on TV to badmouth Mendez, or would she have gone on TV to praise how well she was treated? Ah, the possibilities.

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