Poor Mike Portnoy. The former Dream Theater / former Adrenaline Mob / former Avenged Sevenfold drummer just can’t seem to get a break. He is currently on tour in the U.K. with The Neal Morse Band, and was scheduled to play Islington Assembly Hall Oon Saturday (March 7) when he came down with an illness. He then posted an update on his condition on his Facebook page:
I apologize to the fans for missing this evenings VIP Meet & Greet…I’m extremely sick and on my way to the hospital right now….hopefully we can still pull off tonight’s show without a hitch
When he was not seen by a medical professional in what he considered to be a timely fashion, he simply left the hospital. Two hours after the first post above, Portnoy then posted the following statement regarding the incident:
“A very special NO THANKS to the staff at the Whittington Hospital for NOT seeing me regardless of telling them that there is an audience waiting for our show to begin…I finally left withOUT seeing a doctor in order to make tonight’s show…I have no idea how the hell I’m going to make it through this show…I can’t even stand up or lift my arms… : (“
While there were plenty of comments on this post voicing support for Portnoy, there were several comments calling him out on his condescending tone:
“It is incredibly unfair to cuss out a hospital for following procedure. Sure, it really doesn’t help your current situation but you are not the only person that needs their medical attention today.
Not cool, man.”
“Hospitals triage based on acuity (severity of injury/illness) and LIFE THREATENING cases ARE ALWAYS SEEN FIRST! I.e. ST elevated myocardial infarction, Acute Coronary Syndromes, new onset Cerebral Vascular Accidents (stroke), blood loss not hemodynamically controlled, Septic Shock, any trauma case that involves blood loss or potential loss of limbs. If your reason for visit does not meet the above criteria, get in line and you’ll be seen according to acuity. Hospitals Do not give a fu-k if you’re the biggest rock star on the planet and can pay your way to see an MD in the ER. You actually have a better chance of going to an outpatient Urgent Care and you’ll be seen in under an hour with appropriate meds. Sorry Mike, people’s lives come first.”
Portnoy even responded to some of the comments, threatening to ban the commenters from the page for voicing their opinions. Thereby making him appear as if he couldn’t take the criticism:
Commenter: “Not to be rude, but if someone was dying, I’d hope they didn’t move you to the front of the line just to get you to a show. Very narcissistic thinking here,”
Portnoy: “Keep ’em coming! Can’t wait for everyone to see what an idiot you are before I ban you.”
Another commenter: “Wow, it’s almost like they don’t give a fuck that you’re famous. You don’t get special treatment because you’re a fucking rockstar. Sit the fuck down, you whiny little cry baby. Jesus. Now I understand why Dream Theater hates you.”
Portnoy: “Keep it coming!!! All these idiotic hateful posts makes it easy for me to see who to ban from here…”
One commenter even revealed that they were a medical employee at the very hospital in question, and calmly offered some insight into the situation:
“I’m a doctor that works at the Whittington hospital in london. I wasn’t working in the a&e department tonight however I am sorry to hear of your plight. As much as I’d jump at the opportunity to help you if I actually was on call tonight, please try to understand. Us healthcare professionals don’t want anyone to wait or suffer at all, however we encounter life threatening conditions every hour, sometimes every minute, that stop us from seeing others that may be slightly less unwell, as quickly as we’d like. The NHS [National Health Service] is under-financed, understaffed, overworked. We do have to economise our resources. With all the respect I have for you, it hurts when one of my idols insults an organisation I work very hard for. Waiting sucks, I know, but dying patients suck even more. I sincerely hope you feel better and that the show goes well tonight. Gutted to be missing out due to a prior engagement. Rock on though, love the new Neal Morse album.“
It’s probably safe to say that no professional musician wants to cancel a gig for any reason. And we all hate going to work when sick even if we power through it, and illnesses also make doing what we love less fun. So it’s understandable that Portnoy was upset and expressed it. But any good medical professional or organization will admit patients based on their current condition(s). So this Facebook post, and even more so his responses to some comments, really didn’t help his already questionable online persona. Then again, when you’re experiencing pain or illness, your mood control can become compromised as well, so maybe that has something to do with it. At least with this incident, his reactions are slightly more justified than, oh say, getting emotional over a fan’s wardrobe.