Jul 30, 2018

More Doctors Behaving Badly

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As I have often said, most doctors are caring professionals who would not dream of being disrespectful to their patients.  On the other hand, doctors are human and there are regular incidents of doctors behaving badly.  Sometimes their actions are not merely inappropriate but are shockingly so.  Here are some examples culled from various news reports.

The doctor who performed the endoscopy procedure that took the life of Joan Rivers allegedly snapped a selfie of himself and Ms. Rivers while she lay unconscious on the operating room table.  He was sued by the family for medical malpractice and, unsurprisingly, settled the case.

A New York surgeon carved his initials into the abdomen of a woman whose baby he had just delivered by Caesarean section.  As if that were not bad enough, it was apparently not the first time he had done it.  When he was called to account, his lawyer claimed he should not be held responsible because he had an Alzheimer-type disorder that affected his judgment.  If that were true, what is this man doing practicing medicine at all, much less operating on patients?

A medical student (starting early here) gave his girlfriend, a local exotic dancer, the severed hand of a cadaver.  She put it in a jar and kept it.

A surgeon had to place his hand into the uterine cavity of a Hispanic woman who began hemorrhaging after childbirth to try and stop the bleeding.  So far, so good.  Things went south, however, when the surgeon began to dance and sing “La Cucaracha” while his hand was still in the uterine cavity.

I was actually involved in a case once in which an anesthesiologist and a surgeon came to blows in the operating room over who was responsible for an injury to the patient.  The patient later died as a result of the injury.

Doctors and nurses occasionally steal painkillers intended for their patients.  One nurse who had stolen her patient’s painkiller told him to take his pain like a man and to quit complaining.

Surgeons sometimes operate when they are impaired due to alcohol or drugs.  One Phoenix surgeon was operating drunk when concerned members of the operating room staff called the police.  When the surgeon learned that the police were there, he fled the operating room and tried to drive away before the police apprehended him.  The question I have is, “How long had this been going on before some courageous staff members called the police?”  Surely, this was not the first time the surgeon had been operating while impaired.  He had been sued for medical malpractice many times before he was finally stopped and had his license revoked.  What took so long?

A surgical technologist at a Phoenix hospital was found to have been stealing patient’s painkillers and using them on himself.  As a bonus, it turns out that he had a blood disease which could have been transmitted to the patients in his care.  How does this guy get hired?

I could go on and on but you get the idea.  Be careful and watchful.  If you see something, say something.


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