I've been wanting to make a comment on the physician who didn't know she was being recorded when the patient was under anesthesia. I'm a little late to the dance, but the intent wasn't to be part of the viral nature. Instead, it was for me to reflect and thoughtfully comment on the anesthesiologist's behavior. Click below to hear the conversation among the providers if you haven't already listened.
I'd like to start by stating that physicians are considered "professionals" and, those who enter the field of anesthesiology tend to be especially bright given the life they hold in their hands during procedures and surgeries. In this case, no matter how or why the conversation was recorded, the physician did the following to the patient.
- made fun of
- falsified a clinical record
- called names
- blocked communication (potentially)
- exhibited a lack of empathy and/or compassion
Considering that this "professional" took an oath to "do no harm" her comments were inappropriate and they jeopardize patient safety. We don't know the temperament or psychological status of the patient and we don't know his history. Perhaps he was a little challenging, but the stress of a procedure will do that to some people. Maybe he was just asking a lot of questions, because he heard about the importance of being more engaged in his care, speaking up when he has questions and advocating for himself.
I suspect this physician didn't really know this patient and it was probably the first time they ever met. Was this the first patient she ever laughed at or the first time she was caught? Either way, this audio shines a light on her poor judgment, which places the patient, herself and the organization at risk..
It also demonstrates a disconnect between these healthcare "professionals" and their understanding of the source of their paycheck. Not only did they laugh at this patient, but the entire northern Virginia community. Maybe the clueless doctor should go back to Texas ... if they will have her now.
As for the gastroenterologist. I believe he had an opportunity to speak up and advocate for the patient and to cut the inappropriate comments off. I would have respected him for doing so. Instead, he comes across as weak -- not something I want in my physicians. With respect to the medical assistant, probably someone young, these two physicians were poor role models and have possibly set her up for failure in the future. Or perhaps, she will learn a lesson from this error in judgement.
When I speak on social media, I often use a graphic that states "think before you tweet" and guess I assumed healthcare professionals also realized they needed to "think before you speak". In this case I was wrong!