Be Careful What You Say

The pre-op visits didn't go well.

She had wanted her surgery sooner than what was offered. A compromise was reached. During the interactions, she became distrustful of her surgeon. Fearing a bad surgical outcome due to these interactions, she hid a recorder on her person during her surgery "just in case" there was a bad outcome so that her family would know the truth.

The surgeon and the OR staff were totally unaware that they were being recorded. What the woman heard on these recordings was her surgeon retelling their confrontation and speaking about her in a disparagingly way.

She subsequently shared this with the hospital administration. No action was taken against the surgeon. The woman had expected an apology.

Lesson for patients: No doctor in his/her right mind would intentionally harm a patient (if for no other reason that the risk of medical malpractice is too high). That being said, if you are distrust your surgeon --FIND another surgeon.

Lesson for surgeons: The OR is no longer off limits. In the past, people with eyes and ears may have been too intimidated to report derogatory comments. With the acceptance of the team approach in the OR, surgeons beware. Technology allows for the recording of off handed comments not meant for public disclosure.

Sharan Abdul-Rahman, MD

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