Inside Scope on Medical Truths: Patient Care: The Real Dilemma

Donya Forst, Print Editor

Did you know that when you blush, your stomach lining blushes, too?

The body is a fascinating thing, as health sciences majors discover, and they learn many fun facts – some of which may not come in handy until you’re scheduled for  a “Jeopardy!” appearance.

Here is another one: Our muscles are much more powerful than they appear to be. Human strength is limited to protect our tendons and muscles, but this limitation can be removed during an adrenaline rush, during which some people have lifted boulders or even cars off of themselves.  And another: Humans are bioluminescent, which means they glow in the dark. The light that we emit is 1,000 times weaker than human eyes, so that’s why we can’t see it. So maybe there is some truth when someone says we are positively glowing.

But that’s not the point. The point is that so many people are researching the cure to cancer, removing brain tumors or remembering fun facts that they forget to look into or take part in a seemingly mundane but important thing: patient care.

In the medical profession, people are legitimately putting their lives into your hands. Whether it be for major or minor surgery, figuring the correct dosing of an injection, stitching up a gash, or simply trusting you with their story. The oath is “Do no harm.”

But that isn’t always the way things pan out. People mistreat people.  It happens in relationships, in school, in the grocery store, and it happens in hospitals and the health care setting, too. Sometimes it’s by accident, sometimes it’s on purpose, and sometimes people just do it because they are in positions of power and get a God complex.

Just earlier this year, in Reston, Virginia, an anesthesiologist insulted a sedated patient during a colonoscopy procedure. The patient had a device that recorded what the doctor was saying for post-op instructions. But what the patient found and listened to afterwards was anything but post-op protocol.

According to the Washington Post, the doctor was recorded saying things such as, “After five minutes of talking to you in pre-op, I wanted to punch you in the face and man you up a little bit.”  She also commented about a pre-op needle injection that made the patient nervous and said, “Well, why are you looking then, retard?” She also also insulted a rash on the patient’s genitals, interpreting it as syphilis or tuberculosis without proper examination and testing.

The patient was awarded $500,00 million in a malpractice suit – according to Fox News. However, the doctor’s medical license was not suspended or taken away, nor was she fired.

So, yeah, you can say people are the problem. Some have little to no respect for their patients or people around them. They walk on water because they think they are privileged or above the law. But they aren’t; they chose careers in which they are supposed to help people, and somewhere along the way they lost that. The oath – it doesn’t go away. It’s for life.

So what’s the solution? Maybe that doctor should have received more serious punishment. Maybe we should make bad healthcare providers glow visibly so everyone will recognize them as long as they live.  Or maybe the true and honest answer is that you can’t stop it. You can teach patient care in school, pound it into students’ heads, but once they get out there, you can only hope that what they learned and who they are makes them the medical professionals they should be.

We hope they stick to that oath, whether they’re doctors, nurses or medical assistants. Because no one is really all that special. Whether you are an award-winning surgeon, a police officer, a reporter, a teacher, a maintenance worker, or a computer analyst, we all have a limited number of days here. We all wind up as corpses in wooden boxes or urns full of ashes.

Respect the people around you. Treat them as they deserve to be treated.

Do no harm.