Thursday, December 20, 2007
This is priceless. Apparently some "surgical staff member" felt compelled to make an anonymous phone call to the newspapers, thereby creating a media frenzy. Now the stupid chief resident who took the picture with his cell phone faces suspension or even termination, and possible future legal recrimination. Obviously a dumb, spur of the moment thing to do, but I think anyone who participates in operations for a living can relate a similar scenario where an unconscious patient is exposed and something humorous is revealed; the fat guy with pubic hair shaved in a thin strip, x-rated tatoos on an elderly lady's buttock, etc. Everyone chuckles, but you move on. Not a word is spoken after the case to the patient or anyone else. Taking a picture...... a line gets crossed when you try to capture a vulnerable moment in the OR and share it with others outside the actual case. Just a dumb, dumb thing to do.
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terminated. i wonder if the squealer is sweating it out, wondering if they are going to get canned too? probably hard to fire them, but certainly they can be given crappy jobs until they quit.
I have some familiarity with the organization in question, and I suspect that the "squealer" (if ever identified) will be in just as much trouble as the surgeon.
Kepp in mind that (apparently) instead of going to the administration of the hospital, the "squealer" instead went to the newspapers and revealed the patient's name, tattoo (including the *ahem* region) and reason for surgery. These are pretty serious confidentiality violations, and certainly grounds for termination.
All that said, the organization could be a little more circumspect in its search for said squealer.
And according to today's reports, the surgeon is no longer with the institution. Probably working at a local Circle-K while he waits for his commercial driver's license to be approved so he can get that truck driver job he always dreamed of.
The surgeon and the informant might be the losers, but patients are definitely the winners. I don't believe for a second that this infraction was an isolated incident. Maybe from now on, any arrogant care giver in the OR who thinks he has a right to disrespect an unconscious patient, will think twice.
Thank you Buckeye for your thoughtful assessment of this incident. On other doctor blogs, many posters came to the defense of this doctor with "no harm, no foul" "so what, the patient is into porn anyway" "He gave rights to be photographed in the consent form" "it was just a joke, he should get over it". It's really depressing if these comments came from medical people. If so, then I doubt this incident was an aberation.
In my 50 plus years of receiving medical care, this type of behavior by doctors never entered my mind. I guess I should be relieved that my boring body doesn't have any "irregularities" that would prompt guffaws or worse from the operating staff. After the absolute trust that people must place in their doctors, I hope we don't have to now demand reassurances of respect beforehand to actually receive it.
Thanks for listening,
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