OTR Interviews

Exclusive: Investigation on Wis. Union Protester 'Sick Notes' Opened

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," February 22, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: What happens when you lie at work? All right, don't answer that. We know the answer, and there could be big trouble for some Wisconsin doctors who apparently don't know about lying. A Wisconsin state senator is now investigating reports that some Wisconsin doctors are writing false medical excuses to fraudulently excuse protesters from work. It's called a lie.

Our own Griff Jenkins is on the ground in Wisconsin, where he spoke with the senator.


GRIFF JENKINS, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: State Senator Pam Galloway, who chairs the Public Health Committee and is a breast cancer surgeon in her own right, sat down with me today to talk about an investigation looking into the alleged doctors giving out medical excuse notes.

Senator Galloway, you're a breast cancer surgeon. When you first saw the reports and the video of what was taking place with these doctors, what was your reaction?

STATE SEN. PAM GALLOWAY, M.D., R-WIS.: Well, initially, actually, I was speechless. It was brought to my attention when I was on line and I watched the tape by the McIver Institute that actually showed a reporter, I believe, getting one of these fake excuses. And I really didn't know what to say or to think.

And then when it actually sank in after I watched the video, I was outraged that these doctors are really handing out excuses like they were leaflets. The problem with this entire situation is it really violates what we're trained to do in medical school. It really violates the doctor/patient relationship, and that is that a patient comes to you, the doctor, with a complaint and then you evaluate them and take from it there. In this case, these people were on the capitol square as part of a protest. They were not there to seek medical advice. The doctors were actually soliciting their business.

JENKINS: In your mind, is this something you consider to be fraud? I mean, what did they do, do you think, if they did, indeed, offer legitimate medical excuse notes?

GALLOWAY: Well, in some of the interviews -- for example, the Fox News producer, they didn't even ask the person's name or establish a relationship. So in that case, it is fraud because they weren't actually diagnosing a condition. They were just simply filling out a form and handing it to the person so they would have a way of getting off of work.

And actually, in the case of the video from Fox News, they wrote out the excuse for several days ahead. So in this case, it clearly is fraud because the person wasn't sick and they were just filling out a form.

JENKINS: Today, you're announcing that you're taking action. What it is that you're doing?

GALLOWAY: Well, I'm asking -- I've actually spoken with the chairman of the medical examining board for an investigation. So yesterday, I spoke with the chairman of the family medicine department of UW to find out whether or not these doctors really were acting on their own, or were they acting under the auspices of the University of Wisconsin? And they were not acting under the auspices of the university, they were acting on their own.

JENKINS: We followed a gentleman through the process, who told us he just walked up and asked for a medical sick note that was signed by a doctor.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're basically giving out doctors' excuses for people that are missing work. And they're -- you come up there, and they say, What's your illness? And I say, I don't know. And they say, Well, what, you have anxiety? What do you have? And they just start writing stuff down. And I never told them I had an illness, and they wrote me a two or three-day excuse to get out of work.


JENKINS: On the slip that excused this gentleman from work for such and such days, he signed his physician name and also put his license number. Does that make this a legitimate excuse, or could these doctors come back and say, Hey, we were just doing a joke, we were just protesting in this certain manner in good fun?

GALLOWAY: Well, not if the patient -- if the person is hen going to take that excuse and use it to get out of work because then the doctor hasn't really done their job examining the patient. And then the patient is then using that to get off of work. So in my mind, that would constitute fraud if the doctor hasn't really examined the patient.

JENKINS: And do you believe, then -- is it your hope in this investigation that all of the doctors who may have been involved are contacted? Should they be contacted?

GALLOWAY: They should all be contacted. The fact that they were acting on their own and not under the auspices of the university doesn't excuse the behavior.

JENKINS: Are you speaking with other medical folks besides the board in UW? Have you had other conversations about this matter with anyone?

GALLOWAY: Well, I've spoken with some of my constituents who are physicians, as well as many constituents who are not physicians. And they're furious. This is really just absolutely like nothing I've ever seen before. It would be like me going to the bass pro shop parking lot and talking with their customers and saying, Hey, it looks like a great day to go fishing. Would you like me to write you an excuse?