Joke is On Us

(Here’s the editorial I wrote and which was published in Sun.Star Cebu on April 17, 2008. You can post your comment.)

The video footage on the operation to remove a perfume canister from the anus of a certain “Jan-Jan” was uploaded in YouTube in February but was deleted in a few days.

That was the first sign that whoever did the uploading recognized the error.

While the video footage provided laughs and humiliated the then unidentified patient, it was more damaging to the team that did the operation and to their colleagues.

And for a reason.

Every medical practitioner knows about the Patient’s Bill of Rights, first adopted by the American Hospital Association in 1973 and revised in 1992.

That “Bill of Rights” starts off with: “The patient has the right to considerate and respectful care.”

Privacy
If that is not enough, the Bill has, among its many provisions, the following:

“–The patient has the right to privacy. Case discussion, consultation, examination, and treatment should be conducted to protect each patient’s privacy.

“–The patient has the right to expect that all communications and records pertaining to his/her care will be treated confidentially by the hospital, except in cases such as suspected abuse and public health hazards when reporting is permitted or required by law.

“The patient has the right to expect that the hospital will emphasize confidentiality of this information when it releases it to any other parties entitled to review information in these records.”

Humiliation
It is not difficult to imagine why, in the case of Jan-Jan who is gay and whose case was unique, the situation easily deteriorated into something objectionable.

Medical practitioners and trainees, more so lead doctors, need a strong sense of emotional control when faced with a situation like that one that occurred at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in January.

And that emotional control is precisely a product of a thorough understanding of the need for professionalism in medical practice.

The humiliation, therefore, was less on Jan-Jan and more on the concerned medical team, the hospital and, had the YouTube footage not been deleted, on the country’s medical profession.

The perfume canister in the anus was not the joke; the medical team’s lack of professionalism was.

5 Responses to Joke is On Us

  1. […] RebelMind’s editorial puts it succinctly: The humiliation, therefore, was less on Jan-Jan and more on the concerned medical team, the hospital and, had the YouTube footage not been deleted, on the country’s medical profession. […]

  2. ApplesH says:

    I totally agree.

  3. The case of “Jan-Jan” was rare. Although is was not a major operation but because it was a rare case, even medical professionals was not able to control their emotions. I don’t think that those medical professionals responsible of Jan-Jan’s case mock patients every operation they did. In fairness to them, it was a rare case.

    It was just sad that what happened was more damaging to VSMMC. I read some blog post vehemently attacking VSMMC, claiming that the hospital is a “no good hospital”. In fairness the VSMMC, again, what happened to the hospital tagged as VSMMC scandal was an isolated case.

    However, I insist that something must be done to give justice to Jan-Jan. I condemn the “acts” of those doctors and nurses. I insist that they must face the consequences of their action. Should suspension to doctors and nurses involved suffice? Is dismissal enough? Is there a need to revoke their professional license? Let us use reasons to decide how justice to both parties can be served best.

  4. […] who were present during the operation were curious. But can curiosity turn to mockery? Rebelmind wrote: Medical practitioners and trainees, more so lead doctors, need a strong sense of emotional […]

  5. hi. i wrote my reaction to the controversy on my blog from the perspective of another doctor, if you have time to take a look.

    i got to see the video, and even as a doctor who can understand what was going on, i am hard put to justify my colleagues’ actions, and i don’t even want to try.

    i agree with you that the joke is once more on the medical profession. but i hope that when the smoke clears people realize that this is an exception rather than a rule and that most doctors in the Philippines do not take their oath as lightly.

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