11 September 2008

Doctors Who Make Fun of Patients

You're sick, in the hospital, or maybe even undergoing surgery. The last thing you want to contemplate is the thought that your doctor might be making fun of your toe rings while you're anesthetized.

But does it happen?
Yes. According to a survey of doctors starting a residency in internal medicine, 17 percent had --- along with their colleagues --- made fun of a patient, sometimes when the patient was under.

Egad. Is nothing sacred? The good news, though, is that 94% of the 110 medical interns who took the anonymous survey realized that such
behavior was inappropriate, according to a research letter published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. ~ CNN, 10 Sept 2008

That's the bad news.

The good news is that majority of doctors surveyed realized that making fun of patients is "inappropriate behavior."

The study was done among incoming medical interns. These are young doctors, so I think it's understandable. But still painful and embarrassing if you happen to be the patient. Age might or might not be a factor in cases like these, as seen from the Cebu Hospital Scandal, when the presence of a senior doctor did not prevent the unprofessional behavior from happening. Heck, it was even uploaded in YouTube.

The same CNN article cited "sleep deprivation" and "burnout" as possible reasons for the unprofessional behavior. Doctors might have problems of their own, and laughing at the unfortunate expense of a poor patient, might be a defense mechanism manifesting itself somehow. It's no excuse, I know. But it happens.
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