There are laws in place around the practice of medicine that keep us safe. And we all expect that doctors have our best interest in mind. However, that isn’t always the case. Don’t believe me? Take a gander at these 21 stories that will make you want to pray away the sick instead of see the doc.
1. Good Measure
Female colleague (cardiologist) grabbed a sedated man’s penis while he was undergoing surgery. His penis was massive and she grabbed it to show us. She also measured it.
2. Bad judgement
A doctor was just recently blacklisted from our pharmacy because he was prescribing his “attractive” female patients high doses of opioids to get them addicted. Then he would only refill their script if they had sex with him. Apparently he was doing it for years before anyone said anything.
3. Unneeded Caesarian
I once knew an OB who didn’t like to work after about 5pm, so at the end of office hours, if they had someone in labor they would swing by labor and delivery and find a reason to do a c-section on them. Sometimes they blamed the baby’s heart rate tracing (justified or not), but the classic one would be that they would check the patient’s cervix and lie about how dilated it was so it seemed as if labor wasn’t progressing rapidly enough, and say “I just don’t think this is going to work”, cut her, and be home for dinner. Now in OB we love TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) and one of the real indications for cesarean is CPD (cephalo-pelvic disproportion), which is where the baby’s head is too big for the pelvis. But for this particular doc we always said that they cut patients for CPD (Cesarean Prior to Dinner).
4. This seems like a nice thing?
Not unethical exactly, but frowned upon by the hospital if they found out. When I was a junior doctor, I had an elderly patient on our specialist cardiology ward who’d had to travel 100 miles for a really specialist treatment. She didn’t have any family, and all her friends were similarly elderly and couldn’t drive far, let alone a 200 mile round trip to visit her. She confided in me that she was running out of clean nightdresses and was embarrassed as she didn’t know what to do, so I took them home and washed them for her in my machine. Looking back, I’m sure there was some procedure I should have followed – we’re not supposed to get personally involved – but she was so sweet and it was late and all the admin people had gone home.
5. Being evil
There used to be a psychiatrist who several times seduced his patients while they were at most vulnerable. He made them depend on him and then just use this to get in their pants.
I get that sometimes you can develop feelings for a patient and even start dating later (was not uncommon at the psychiatric ward I was a nurse at), but this was only a psychiatrist being evil.
6. Asleep on the job
My mom worked as a nurse in Brazil for a while and said that the doctors at her hospital would sleep during night shifts and it’d all be up to the nurses. They would get angry if they were awoken and wouldn’t take the nurses seriously, which led to this one guy’s death (despite my mom insisting that they check on him because he looked bad) because they didn’t want to get up.
7. Covered your ass
I’m a physician and used to work twelve hour night shifts at this hospital in California. My co-worker (who was also a doctor and admittedly, a young and good looking fellow) and I covered pages from different floors. If there was nothing going on, I would usually be in my call room reading/sleeping/watching TV until a nurse would page me for a problem. My colleague’s on call room shared the same wall with mine.
One night, I was reading in my room, when i started hearing my colleague and another woman having sex. The noises started getting louder and fairly difficult to ignore (sorry but she was pretty loud). Then, in the middle of this charade, I heard his pager go off several times without him answering it.
Eventually, I left the room and called the hospital operator. I asked her who had paged doctor (my colleague’s name) and then called the nurse who was trying to get in touch with him.
Turns out, the page was for a patient that was in a serious condition and had to be taken to the ICU. I took care of everything and went back to my room. Later on, I told him that they were paging him for a critically ill patient overhead and that he must have fallen asleep (I didn’t say anything about hearing his allegro chamber sex orchestra). But I think he knew that I knew because he got red and thanked me for covering for him.
From a patient perspective I still have trouble with this one:
I was getting a severe wound on my shin cleaned of debris with a scrub brush. The doctor for some reason wasn’t wearing any face protection and managed to splash wound juice into her mouth. Her response was a “pffbt plbbft pbffftt, Ah I got your juices in my mouth!”
I was horrified. Never returned.
9. Stealing Time
I briefly worked at the front desk clerk for an ER at a local hospital. The rule was the anyone that came in complaining of chest pains had to be back and on a machine within 10 minutes of arrival. Once I entered their name into the system a clock started. So I was told not to enter their name until they had already been taken back to essentially make our numbers look better and make it appear as though they were receiving care within the prescribed 10 minutes.
10. This is horrible
I’m in Vietnam and see some serious ethics violations by medical professionals here. I can only tell of second hand accounts but I know the person this happened to.
Corruption runs deep here. One of my friends is a local and was engaged to a man she had been with for about two years. Their relationship came to a sudden halt when her mother got cancer. The cancer did not kill the relationship. The doctor did. He told the family that the mom would not be treated in time to fight the cancer due to the number of patients they had to see and the funds available for taking on such cases – medicine is state run here. He assured the family, however, that he would treat my friend’s mom if my friend became his girlfriend. They were “together” for about six months while mom went through chemo. She still died. Imagine telling your SO that you have to break up with him/her because the doctor won’t treat your parent unless you perform sexual favors for him.
11. Wait, what?
My mums co-worker stitched his initials into a patient because he was so proud of his work.
12. You should sue
I went to see a doctor who happens to be an acquaintance of my parents. Told him I had a few symptoms that worried me. He immediately thinks it’s an STD, asks me if I am sexually active. I say yes and he recommends that I go do a blood test at some hospital. I go to my gf’s place to hang out, come back home. My dad tells me we need to talk. The doctor called my f*cking dad and told him I am sexually active and might… MIGHT have an STD. My dad didn’t even know I had a gf. At this point I am pissed off. That week, I go do my blood test, hospital sends results to the doctor and he f*cking calls my parents, again, to say that I am clean. F*ck you you piece of shit, makes me mad every time I think about it. I was 21, why the f*ck are you calling my parents. F*ck you.
13. Illegal, like really illegal
My dad (a cardiologist himself) told me of a local cardiologist who tried to hire a hitman on his business rival, had a secret room behind a bookshelf that was filled with illegal weapons, and wrote “patients” prescriptions so they could get their painkiller fix.
I’m a General Surgery resident. We had a patient that had been on our service for about a year. Older fellow, very sick. Every now and then, he would go into respiratory distress get intubated (or bipap) for a bit, always would bounce back to his baseline of 8/10 sick. Everyone called him “the rock.” But not in a cool “do you smell what the rock is cooking” way. In a boring sick person that sits there way.
Well, he had always been a full code. That means that in case of dying, we do everything we can to keep him alive. After a looooong time of being inpatient my attending was sick of him and made him a DNR/I (which means let him pass if he starts to struggle). He didn’t want this, but they got away with it saying that he did not have capacity (ehhhhh he was decently with it, but I can see that argument). So talks with the family started and they specifically stated that they wanted full code. My attending didn’t agree and decided to call them to confirm. But we think he purposefully called the wrong number many times and eventually decided for himself that he was DNR/I.
Two days later the guy went into resp distress and died. I came to rounds the next morning to two attendings yelling and screaming about the “right thing to do”. Maybe I feel that it’s better that he passed as well. But his/his families wishes were ignored and purposefully evaded. I could never go against someone’s wishes.
15. How it’s done
My grandfather was a physician in a small town and also worked as the pharmacist as this was how it was done in rural areas. He lost his medical license for trading medication for sexual services from patients. He was a brilliant doctor and graduated top of his class from Dalhousie but was a weirdo. When I was younger he was also arrested for smuggling drugs into Canada
16. Going to jail
A (male) nurse at a hospital I worked at was caught sodomizing (male) patients as they were recovering from surgery.
17. Basically torture…
This happened when I was a medical student working in the ER. This 20 something male was drunk driving and crashed his car into an elderly couple causing them to require emergent surgery. He was belligerent and walking around naked in the trauma bay. Nurses were trying to get him to calm down and stay in his room and stop yelling. He was calling the nurses b*tches and asking to go to the bathroom so they gave him a urinal. As he was urinating, my attending went up to him and said “I want you on that bed right now.” He said “F*ck you” so my attending knocked the urinal out of his hand, pis went flying all over the room.
He picked him up and threw him on the bed and pushed some rocuronium through his IV to paralyze him. Then he seemed to take his time with intubating him, letting his O2 sat get down into the 40’s before finally letting him breath again. I don’t know what ended up happening to the guy in the long run. Turns out he had just broken up with his girlfriend and went on a drinking binge. He deserved to be punished for what he did, but I don’t think he deserved to be forcibly intubated for no reason other than causing a scene.
18. Serious social issues
In the hospital I work at there are many “frequent flier” psychiatric patients. They usually have very serious social issues (e.g. lack of housing, no money etc.). Sometimes, when the psych unit gets tired of them, they buy them a bus ticket and send them somewhere far away so that they’ll be someone else’s problem.
19. A gift
My mom is a nurse that worked at a hospice. She was known among the other nurses as having a gift. When it was coming time for a patient to reach his or her end, my mom would be able to guess the time of death usually within 5-10 minutes. The nurses would make betting pools and really were fascinated by what my mom could do.
They would tip her off on a patient in bad condition and she would go in and take their temperature, feel the feet, and check their pulse and walk out with an exact time. She won a lot of money and free lunches in her stay there. When a higher management official approached her one day about it she immediately started to apologize for her unprofessionalism. The manager stopped her and told her she was in fact impressed by her ability.
20. What a douche
My doctor acquaintance bragged about making out with one of his patients immediately after she told him about being domestically abused.
My father is a psychiatric nurse and he will openly say how jaded he is by the incompetent people he works with. He has been employed as a registered nurse since the 1970s. But in recent decades the government has slashed the mental health budget, so instead of hiring qualified nurses who command a higher wage, they hire what are essentially babysitters with no experience.
His patients are seriously mentally disabled, not the type who need to be put in a straitjacket and sedated but grown men with the intelligence of 4-year-olds. These babysitters know nothing about restraining them when they get violent, they just cower in the corner and wait for the 1 or 2 nurses in the building. There’s also a lot to be said about the character of these ‘babysitters.’ My Dad told me about one patient who had a phobia of cicadas, so this arsehole colleague thought is would be funny to catch a cicada and chase the poor patient around the grounds with it.
The worse case of incompetence he told me about happened at this hospital that was located within walking distance from a major 6-lane motorway. Two nurses came in for their night shift. Patients are sleeping so workers on the night shift will watch tv or do anything else to keep themselves awake during quiet periods. These guys had brought in computer equipment with the intention of repairing or building a computer, I don’t know. The fact was that they were so engrossed in their task that they failed to notice one patient who had woken up and left the premises. It wasn’t until emergency services showed up and told them that there had been a fatal accident on the motorway, that killed this patient, that these nurses realized anything was amiss.