An anonymous essay published in a medical journal has revealed just how unprofessional and intrusive some doctors act while patients are under anesthesia.
The anonymous essay detailed horrific incidences that happened in the operating room on separate occasions, stirring a hot debate on what amounts to inappropriate behavior and whether such behavior needs to be reported to safeguard the medical profession.
The anonymous essay is entitled “Our Family Secret.” It details two separate incidences where doctors operated on patients under despicable undertones of sexual assault, misogyny and racism. The authors published the article as anonymous to safeguard the identities of parties, specifically the victims.
The events occurred when the doctor author was teaching a medical course to senior med students. He asked the class “Do any of you have someone to forgive from your clinical experiences? Did anything ever happen that you need to forgive or perhaps still can’t forgive?”
That was when one of the students responded by recounting an incident he witnessed while a patient was being treated under general anesthesia for a condition referred to as vaginal hysterectomy.
The student said that while the surgeon operating was prepping the patient’s vaginal area, he turned to the student and quipped, ‘I bet she’s enjoying this,’ while laughing and winking.
The med student called the doctor a “dirtball” and was still clearly affected by the incident he said he should have stood up against but only laughed because he did not know what to do.
The other documented incident was told by the lecturing doctor to the class about an indecent event he witnessed when he was a medical student.
During the delivery of a baby, the doctor narrated, something went wrong and the operating surgeon had to put the patient under anesthesia. To stop the patient from excessive bleeding, the resident doctor performed an internal bimanual uterine massage that involved pressing his fist on the patient’s uterus.
The bleeding did stop. But as it subsided, the doctor said something to the tune of, “Atta girl. That’s what I like. A nice, tight uterus.”
The essay then narrates how the doctor pulled out his hands, waved them in the air and started singing, “La Cucaracha.”
In the accompanying editorial, editor in chief Dr. Christie Laine said she decided to publish it to raise debate about the habits of doctors acting unprofessionally in the work place.
Laine said, “It’s important to acknowledge that these kinds of things happen, even if they happen rarely, because that’s too often. And we should always be prepared so that the next time we find ourselves in these situations, we can hopefully be more like the anesthesiologist in the story and cut the behavior immediately.”
While the practice of medicine is known to herald the highest standards of discretion and professionalism, some doctors have been known to act in the exact opposite manner.
Through daring to speak publicly and openly about the topic, Dr. Laine intends on ensuring incidents such as these become extinct.