Here are some tips from an experienced former provider—me.
Do not take nude pictures of fellow employees. A woman unit secretary in the operating room of a hospital in Greene County, Pennsylvania said while she was anesthetized for an incisional hernia repair, an operating room nurse took photographs of her naked body and later showed them to several coworkers.
The patient, known only as Jane Doe, has filed suit against the hospital, several of its employees, and the surgeon who operated on her because he did not report the nurse who took the pictures to hospital administration.
According to the local newspaper, the OR nurse was fired after Ms. Doe reported the incident, but things did not go well for Ms. Doe either. After she returned to work, she was blamed for what happened and treated poorly by the staff. Someone wrote her a note that said, “What were you thinking?” and added an obscenity.
She returned to work and suffered “migraines, anxiety, and insomnia.” After she took an unpaid leave recommended by her physician, the hospital terminated her.
As is typical of lawsuits such as this [see my post of December 28, 2017], hyperbole must be used in order to fill up the 39 pages of the complaint. Despite no claim of a postoperative complication, Ms. Doe’s lawyer said she was at increased risk of infection because a cell phone, not necessarily one with more bacteria than a toilet seat, was taken into a sterile operating room.
Do not [allegedly] murder a patient. An anesthesiologist was arrested and charged with murder in December because his patient, who was an orthopedic surgeon, had a cardiac arrest after undergoing plastic surgery at a Beverly Hills clinic. The Los Angeles Times story about the incident reported the patient died of an overdose of Demerol, a narcotic rarely used these days, and police say the anesthesiologist [allegedly] injected himself with drugs during the case.
Do not overdose at work. A nurse at a nursing home in Western Pennsylvania overdosed while on duty back in April. A Pittsburgh television station said an investigation showed that patients were not receiving pain medication that had been ordered. Police think the nurse was charting that the drugs had been given without actually doing so.
If the staff is [allegedly] taking drugs meant for the patients, the patients have to make other arrangements. Two did so. A 67-year-old woman and a 63-year-old man overdosed on heroin in that same nursing home on January 22, 2018.
Skeptical Scalpel is a retired surgeon and was a surgical department chairman and residency program director for many years. He is board-certified in general surgery and a surgical sub-specialty and has re-certified in both several times. For the last 8 years, he has been blogging at SkepticalScalpel.blogspot.com and tweeting as @SkepticScalpel. His blog has had more than 3,000,000 page views, and he has over 18,000 followers on Twitter.