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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Arrogant,Abusive, and Disruptive on the Health Train Express

In today's email newsletters one from the New York Times caught my eye.

This is old, but still disturbing news. The article fails to mention what steps hospitals, medical staffs, and others have initiated to curb these episodes.  Human behavior is at times unpredictable. What is also not mentioned is the disciplinary process, nor the response of the attending surgeon in their example.

It is also very interesting the article mentions (as an afterthought) that the incidence of these 'outbursts' have diminished recently. Could this be attributed to the mandate of decreased hours for residents in training.

It also does not attribute what the support staff did ,if anything, to enable this type of behavior.  Does the nursing supervisors, and hospital administration have an avenue and procedure when this occurs.

This article is entirely one sided. How about this picture?

We have surgeons in the operating room, who bear total responsibility morally, ethically, and legally who may have been up for 24 hours or more, may have had their office hours disrupted to be in the operating room, at times at night with unfamilar and at times untrained personnel doing a procedure.  Thrown into a life and death situation under these circumstances can tip an otherwise 'balanced surgeon' into 'anger'....Throwing a scalpel can be construed as assault with a  deadly weapon.  There are legal means of dealing with this situation, far beyond hospital discipline.

The New York Times lumps all episodes of surgeon unhappiness or anger into one category.  Do they include a loud admonition to nurses that are talking, or an anesthesiologist playing loud rap music or  even playing music without the consent of the operating surgeon?  Is blood squirting up to the ceiling because a nurse or assistant was not paying attention to the operation?  Did a critical piece of equipment fail causing irreparable damage?

None of these episodes can be lumped into one category, and each must be addressed individually.  All hospitals  now have procedures and mechanisms to avert this behavior. 

Compared to other issues in our health care system, the uninsured, the inaccesiblity and unfunded mandates, this is a miniscule problem for American Health Care.  There must be other issues the NY Times can print to fill up their space.


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