"Anesthesiologist trashes sedated patient"

Story in today’s Washington Post. Pretty hair-raising.

Doper medical types, tell me this sort of thing is not common!

Good lord.

I’m betting malpractice insurance doesn’t cover that sort of intentional act. Serves the MD right for being an ass and having to pay the half million herself.

Methinks someone has issues with men.

I read that story this morning.

I’ve got a couple of questions

  • How was this bloke allowed to have a smartphone in the operating theatre? Maybe things are different in the US, but the couple of times I’ve had to have operations done, I’ve been in the hospital gown and a pair of hospital provided socks and that’s it.

  • I don’t for moment condone what they did, but how in the world is getting trash-talked while under a general worth half a million dollars? To me punishment tops out as an apology to the client, and a disciplinary note on the anesthetists personal file/AMA record.

I gotta be honest, I really don’t see the big deal. I mean, this is a woman who explores colons for a living. You gotta get your laughs where you can in a job like that.

A bigger part of the award was straight-up malpractice. The anesthesiologist intentionally made shit up on the medical records, because… I have no idea honestly.

It was a colonoscopy. Not a sterile operation. All they want is you on your side with your rump sticking out. They might even give you a blanket if you’re chilly (I had one pre-op while in prep and rolled into the OR). If he was wearing a hospital gown he could have easily put it in the front pocket and no one would notice. For the other question, lazybratsche covered it.

Very messed up. Maybe we need doctors to wear body cams, too.

I don’t really get about people joking about you while you’re asleep counts as “defamation”. It doesn’t sound like anyone in the room would’ve really belived the rash to be syphilis. In anycase, I can’t say I really care what Dr’s say about their patients while they’re under.

But knowingly making a false diagnosis is obviously a no-no, so I can’t say I’m sorry for the doc.

For the first part, an article I read indicated his phone was in his slacks, which were folded up and under the operating table.

For the second part, as shitty and unprofessional as their trash talk was, it’s the falsifying medical records (they lied and marked his chart saying they’d found hemorrhoids when they hadn’t) that make it money-worthy to me.

Really? The burden of being a member of one of the highest paid professions in one of the wealthiest countries in the world must be more than anyone can handle. I’m sure she wakes up every day wishing she were born in New Delhi.

I have a friend who was one of those horribly unfortunate people who went through surgery paralyzed but awake and able to feel and hear everything. It seriously messed her up, mentally. However, the point here is that the hospital didn’t really believe her story until she started repeating comments that she heard when she was supposed to have been asleep, including comments doctors made about her breasts. She was about 18 when this happened.

I’ve followed this since it broke. A followup report indicated that in Virginia falsifying a medical record is a felony, so maybe the doctor will be facing other charges. Certainly fraudulently putting a diagnosis in a medical record could result in harm to the patient as he seeks additional (unnecessary) treatment.

So is there ANY indication why a/that doctor would do that? They thought it’d be funny?

No, I don’t think it is.

We sometimes have a pretty sick sense of gallows humor, to be sure. Yes, we sometimes say things we probably shouldn’t. Yes, we should always behave as if the patient is conscious and hearing us, and we don’t always. But this goes beyond a few ill advised jokes. (Although I am surprised that he was awarded anything at all, as there was no real compensable injury. “anxiety, embarrassment and loss of sleep” don’t usually result in cash awards. I can only surmise that the jury was just so shocked they gave him a pile of cash because they felt bad for the guy.)

But the real no-no here is indeed falsifying medical records. I can get in a heap shit of trouble if I accidentally code for 490 Bronchitis instead of 494 Bronchiectasis. Simply making up a diagnosis, even a minor one like Hemorrhoids, is Just Not Done.

I’m surprised that anybody is surprised by this. Doctors are no different than anyone else - they’re going to complain about and make fun of the customers behind their backs.

Falsifying records, on the other hand, is a serious issue.

I’m with Simplicio on this one. If it had been me and the only thing had been trash talk with no false diagnosis I would have put together a Youtube video identifying the doc and any other contributing staff to see if the internet warriors wanted to have some fun.

That makes much more sense. The version of the story I saw omitted the whole false medical records thing.

From what I can gather from what I heard on the recording is that the doctors are experiencing a little bit of the “retail burnout” so to speak.

I live in the region - and actually had surgery myself in the same area - though not with these doctors. Having lived in the area I see a little different context within which this is happening. The population in Northern Virginia consists in large part of very snooty, highly educated, wealthy and entitled people. Statistically, I think that the county which this took place in is one of the top ten in the country in both education and household income/wealth.

So, believe it or not, I think these doctors actually feel OK making fun of this man because they perceive him to be one of these types of individuals; which I honestly have little doubt that he was. Even though they are doctors, which one would think means they are treated as professionals and with high regard, I think in this particular region they are not; to some extent they are treated more like one would expect to be treated in, say, retail.

My initial reaction was that the patient was this poor victim - these arrogant type A alpha doctors were picking on this poor beta male. After listening to the tape though I had a different view of who the alfa and beta’s were. If you listen, you will hear how the doctors describe the constant second guessing they have to contend with. They also describe the uniqueness of the NoVa patients.

Really, what I think happened was they put the hemorrhoid diagnosis down because the patient would have insisted something was wrong and they weren’t finding anything because they didn’t know what they were doing. I think in their mind putting the hemorrhoid diagnosis down was a way to just appease the patient without doing anything that would have serious medical consequences; have you ever someone OD’ing on preparation H?

At the end of the day though, I still agree with the jury decision. Even if the context I present is completely true, and even if you believe the doctors are not inherently malicious people, it still does not excuse the actions they took. To me, if you want the money, respect and prestige that comes with being a doctor you should be able to handle these situations professionally.