Two shocking accounts of doctors behaving inappropriately came to light in an article published by a respected medical journal. According to the editors of the Annals of Internal Medicine journal, the reason for publishing these accounts is to encourage health professionals to speak out when they witness such inappropriate behavior and to expose the 'dark side' of medicine
In the article published on August 17 the editors declared that by shining a light on this dark side of the medical profession, they emphasize to physicians "that this behavior is unacceptable". The added that doctors should not only refrain from personally acting in such a manner but also speaking with their colleagues in case that they witness such a behavior.
The published article takes the form of an essay in which an anonymous author describes one day of teaching a class to medical students. He asked the class if any of them would have someone to forgive from their clinical experiences.
A medical student, named David in the essay, said he can't forgive something that happened to him. When he was helping with a vaginal hysterectomy, before the surgery began the surgeon cleaned the anesthetized woman's genital area and inner thighs. The surgeon said to David that he bet the patients "is enjoying this," with a laugh and a wink.
David said he was incredibly angry at the time when he witnessed the incident. While he was there to learn, the surgeon has proved he "was a dirtball".
The author of the essay asked David if he laughed as well at surgeon's joke. David explained that he did pretend to laugh at the time. When David asked his teacher if he have ever been in a similar situation, the author admitted that he went through a similar situation at the time when he was a medical student himself.
Then the author of the published essay recounted his own story for his class. After he had just helped to deliver a baby girl, the new mother started to bleed profusely. Then the author called for the obstetrician to attend to the patient.
The obstetrician said that the patient's hemorrhaging is caused by a condition called uterine atony, in which the muscles in the uterus do not contract properly after delivery. The obstetrician placed his hand inside the vagina after the patient was put under anesthesia, in order to massage the uterus. The procedure can help the uterus contract and stop the bleeding.
The author wrote in his essay that the obstetrician said them something inappropriate, like "That's what I like. A nice, tight uterus." And then, the author continued, something happened that he could never forget. The obstetrician raised his right hand into the air and started to sing 'La Cucaracha', stomping his feet, like he would dance with the anesthetized patient.
The editors of Annals of Internal Medicine point out that these two incidents are examples of inappropriate and even unethical behavior in the medical profession. According to the editors, while the first incident shows misogyny and disrespect, the second not only shows all that but also heavy overtones of sexual assault. And the worst part is that health professionals may remain silent when incidents like this happen in medicine or just feel pressure to go along with the joke of a superior.