December 29, 2015

"After five minutes of talking to you in pre-op. I wanted to punch you in the face and man you up a little bit."

Said the the anesthesiologist to the unconscious patient, who was recording the whole thing on his cell phone as he underwent a colonoscopy. But don't feel too sorry for the man. He's getting half a million dollars after a 3-day jury trial.
“I’ve never heard of a case like this,” said Lee Berlik, a Reston lawyer who specializes in defamation law. He said comments between doctors typically would be privileged, but the Vienna man claimed his recording showed that there was at least one and as many as three other people in the room during the procedure and that they were discussing matters beyond the scope of the colonoscopy.
"I wanted to punch you in the face and man you up a little bit" isn't defamatory, but the anesthesiologist also commented on a rash, calling it "some syphilis on your arm or something" and "It’s probably tuberculosis in the penis, so you’ll be all right." Since he did not have syphilis or tuberculosis, that was a false statement. I would have thought the best argument is anyone who heard the remark would have understood it as a joke.

“Usually, all [legal] publication requires is publication to someone other than the plaintiff,” Berlik said. “If one of the doctors said to someone else in the room that this guy had syphilis and tuberculosis and that person believed it, that could be a claim. Then it’s up to the jury to decide: Were the statements literal assertions of fact? The jury apparently was just so offended at this unprofessional behavior that they’re going to give the plaintiff a win. That’s what happens in the real world.”

One of the jurors, Farid Khairzada, said that “there was not much defense, because everything was on tape.”
Well, he seems to have missed a point. Oh, jurors! Sigh.

Imagine doing colonoscopies all day long and not being able to joke around a bit. All those cell phones, and all those states that have one-person consent rules. The jurors were rightly offended, of course. In addition to the "punch you in the face" remark, the doctors talked about "misleading and avoiding" when he came to and pretending he'd already spoken to the doctor. They made fun of his college — which was once only for women — and wondered if he was gay, and they wrote "hemorrhoids" on his chart, though he didn't have hemorrhoids. So no one's going to feel much sympathy for the doctor, and I bet a lot of us are planning to hit the record button before going under in case there's $500,000 to be found via colonoscopy.

64 comments:

john mosby said...

When I had a colonoscopy, I had to put all my clothes and personal effects in a locker, then put on a hospital gown. I assume this was to help keep the procedure room sterile and to avoid "hey, my necklace is missing!" claims. Where the heck did this guy conceal the cellphone?

(or was that the purpose of the colonoscopy: to find the phone!?)

JSM

cubanbob said...

If there is one area the federal government might be of use when it comes to doctor regulation it might be a national shit list of doctors so patients and practices can avoid them. This doctor should have had her licensed revoked and not allowed to practice anywhere. This doctor has a dangerous personality type and shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a patient. Anesthesia is potentially very dangerous, can result in death or severe brain injury if not carefully administrated and the attitude this doctor demonstrated isn't conducive with the professional expectation one would expect from an anesthesiologist.

$500,000 is a lot of cash for no real injury. I suspect the award will be reduced by the courts.

alan markus said...

I suspect most people would like to think that the focus of their medical professionals is on them, the patient, no matter how routine and mundane the procedure. Save the comedy and snark for breaktime or the Christmas party.

Rae said...

In a professional setting, don't say anything you wouldn't want repeated. Better yet, just follow the Golden Rule.

Amexpat said...

The only reason I see for having an anesthesiologist for a colonoscopy is to pad the medical bill. It's not an operation or difficult procedure and a doctor and nurse is all that's needed. I've had four of them. The first time, on the doctor's recommendation, I had nothing given to me. It was uncomfortable but preferable to having a cavity filled without novocaine. Thereafter, I asked for something and got a dose of valium administered intravenously by a nurse. I dozed off during the procedure each time and woke up, well rested, shortly afterwards.

SGT Ted said...

The hospital employees make damn good money. They can be professional and tell their jokes when the patient isn't in the room. Arrogant assholes.

MisterBuddwing said...

Puzzling over this one. At the end of the day, what harm was actually done to the patient, aside from hurting his feelings? (Oh, right. Trigger warnings and micro-aggressions and the like.)

My father's a retired surgeon. I remember something he said during the Watergate scandal when investigators were clamoring for the release of President Nixon's secret White House recordings. Now, Dad was as anti-Nixon as you can get, but in this particular instance, he sympathized with the president. Dad said the kind of verbal hijinks that routinely occurred in the operating room were the sort of thing that doctors and nurses wouldn't want to be revealed - not to the public, and certainly not to the patient.

Would you really want to be operated on by a surgical team who felt like a total stranger was listening in on them every moment?

Ann Althouse said...

"When I had a colonoscopy, I had to put all my clothes and personal effects in a locker, then put on a hospital gown."

Can't you just buy something like this and pin it inside the hospital gown or hide it in your hair?

Ann Althouse said...

"Would you really want to be operated on by a surgical team who felt like a total stranger was listening in on them every moment?"

I remember when people used to think that God was listening to everything they said AND everything they thought. Or so they claimed. They also believed that they might go to hell for thinking modestly incorrect things. Or so they claimed.

Ann Althouse said...

I remember a story of a woman waking up from shock treatment (for depression) and hearing the health workers saying something like: All the depressed patients have ugly feet. Do they have ugly feet because they are depressed or are they depressed because they have ugly feet?

Can't remember if she sued.

Ann Althouse said...

If you feel any empathy for the health workers, I recommend the TV show "Getting On."

Tank said...

When I had my appendectomy, there were two doctors available to do the surgery, a man and a woman. My Mom was there and said to me that the woman seemed nice. I told her that I didn't want the nice one, I wanted the best one. I wasn't going out to dinner with him/her, I'd be out cold on the table like a dead fish and I wanted to be sliced up and sown together with cold precision. The guy did it and did a good job (the woman probably would have too, but not because she was nice).

Just before they took me into surgery, a young lady approached me. I thought it was a candy striper. No, it was the anesthesiologist. I believe I asked her if she was old enough to do this sort of thing. She laughed. I think she took it as the joke it was. Maybe while I was under she was making fun of me. Why would I care about that? I never saw her again.

traditionalguy said...

A metaphor for comments without Moderation.

Shouting Thomas said...

I remember when people used to think that God was listening to everything they said AND everything they thought. Or so they claimed. They also believed that they might go to hell for thinking modestly incorrect things. Or so they claimed.

These functions have now been abandoned by God and turned over to racism hysterics like your husband.

traditionalguy said...

It is a Catch 22. The medical personnel who see patients as an impersonal sack of stuff make the best ones. The deep emotional enmeshment approach works both ways. The number of Saints is miniscule and dropping fast. There is a sexual predatory angle to invading another person's body. ( See, Paglia, Camille)

Sebastian said...

"Well, he seems to have missed a point. Oh, jurors! Sigh." I guess the doc wasn't judged by a jury of his peers.

"I wanted to punch you in the face and man you up a little bit." Sounds like doc had his patient pegged pretty well.

"Imagine doing colonoscopies all day long and not being able to joke around a bit." Right. Imagine x all day long and not being able to joke around a little bit. The teacher making fun of dumb students, the store manager making fun of clueless customers, the garbage collector making fun of other people's you-know-what, and on and on. $500K a pop. US law is a joke but nothing to laugh at.

Shouting Thomas said...

I remember when people used to think that God was listening to everything they said AND everything they thought. Or so they claimed. They also believed that they might go to hell for thinking modestly incorrect things. Or so they claimed.

It might be good to remind yourself that your degrees are in arts and literature. (Yes, law is a literary field.) You're dead ignorant of technology and science. And, your religion is laughable fag hag feminism.

At least Christianity is an altruistic discipline that revolves around service to others. It has 2,000 years of tradition, art and literature behind it.

Your religion is sheer greedy self-interest. And, it is horrifyingly puritanical. Your religion is Ann Althouse and whatever she wants right now.

Rick said...

If you feel any empathy for the health workers, I recommend the TV show "Getting On."

Disgust at this decision has nothing to do with empathy for the workers. Our medical costs are so high in part because we use juries to send messages about disapproval rather than to compensating people for damages suffered. This plaintiff suffered no harm.

Original Mike said...

"Can't you just buy something like this and pin it inside the hospital gown or hide it in your hair?"<


Check your hair privilege, Althouse! (I'm feeling microaggressed).

tim maguire said...

Another example of the many many applications of the "don't be a dick" rule. He shouldn't have gotten a payday as he wasn't harmed. But the anesthesiologist should have gotten some kind of reprimand.

Michael K said...

"The only reason I see for having an anesthesiologist for a colonoscopy is to pad the medical bill."

No, it's because you have a patient insist on general anesthesia. I've had a couple of colonoscopies and had no sedation. Maybe it helps that I understand the procedure better. Maybe that was the source of the "man up" comment.

Second, I always told everyone in the room a couple of stories about patients under general telling me later everything that was said in the room. We NEVER joked about the patient. Sometimes we talked about other casual things. NEVER the patient.

Operating room conversations are a bit unusual because, I would be talking about something casual and then we get to an intense bit of the surgery and all conversation would stop. Then, after the intense part was over, we would resume at exactly the same sentence even though a half hour might have passed.

Also, OR staff do a lot of communicating with their eyes because everyone has masks on. I suppose Muslims might understand.

Original Mike said...

"They also believed that they might go to hell for thinking modestly incorrect things."

I was taught (Catholic) that thinking something was just as bad as doing it. Even as a kid I thought "that's ridiculous". I get no credit for not doing it? If I've already committed the sin, what's the downside to going ahead and actually doing it?

One of the many things that lead to my falling out with the whole God thing.

The Cracker Emcee said...

"I was taught (Catholic) that thinking something was just as bad as doing it. Even as a kid I thought "that's ridiculous". I get no credit for not doing it? If I've already committed the sin, what's the downside to going ahead and actually doing it?

One of the many things that lead to my falling out with the whole God thing."

You let some nun define the omnipotent Master of an infinite universe for you? Dude...

12/29/15, 12:49 PM

roadgeek said...

This story, as interesting as it may be, is from last June. I had a colonoscopy several years ago. Best nap I've had in years. I'd had a conversation with the doctor the night before. Asked how many he'd done. He furrowed his brow and allowed as how he was closing in on 30,000. He was a gruff son of a bitch, but I doubt any patient-mocking went on in his operating theatre.

Shouting Thomas said...

In re religion:

The fact that you can't live up to the ideals of a moral and theological system isn't a reason to dump it.

Most amazing thing I've seen in years. I'm usually the first to Mass on Sunday, to set up the organ and hymn board. An extended family of about a dozen Filipinos beat me on Christmas morning.

The entire family, lead by the oldest man and woman, recited the rosary together. Most amazing scene of family discipline and respect for the elders I've seen in decades.

I guarantee you that every kid in that family will succeed in academics and perform his reciprocal obligations to his family without question. He will attend every family function as a matter of duty, learn a lucrative and practical trade, and care for his parents and grandparents when they are old, disabled and demented.

You're welcome to your brutal, stupid self-interested rejection of anything that doesn't serve your interests at this very moment. I'd suggest relearning a sense of shame over your greedy self-interest, instead of regarding it as a virtue.

David said...

The anesthesiologist was female. So much for women improving the tome of the profession.

Chuck said...

So about some weird ideas posited in this thread. It's the Department of Unintended Consequnces.

First, if I buy a surreptitious voice recorder, I prolly won't use the Althouse Amazon portal.

To the guy who was told to put his clothes and possessions in a locker; well, duh. It is so they don't get stolen and you and they are protected. If you think that's an overwrought notion, okay. You could just have the patient put them on a little shelf below his own gurney. Like, uh, what was done in this case!

And about the size of the jury award. Yes of course it is absurd. It will be $500,000, plus at least some costs and interests. Some states have pretrial mediation/ADR schemes which might attach actual attorney fees under the right circumstnces. (It would take me 2500 words to explain.) The plaintiff attorneys take 1/3. The health care providers pay the judgment, plus prejudgment interest, plus at least some costs for the plaintiff, plus all of their own attorney fees and all of their own costs. It is a massive bill. For a guy who suffered a petty insult at the hands of people who would have been obligated to never say anything about anything to third parties outside of the health care setting. No friends of the patient were told. No family. No co-workers. So no damages in any of those areas; no possibility of any damages.

I suspect that the $1.75m demand had a lot of water under it, but that there was nonetheless a very high pre-suit demand made with a high cost in mind for the defendants to avoid the press and the public embarrassment to the providers. A level of legal extortion that dwarfs the nature of any injury in the first instance.

About any reversal of the award on appeal; I very much doubt it. The amount is painfully high and yes it badly hurts our healthcare delivery system. (Democrats love the notion of a European-style healthcare system but they sure as hell don't want to give up our Wild West-style litigation system. The trial lawyers are the paymasters of the Democrat Party.) But defamation is an intentional tort, and punitive or at least exemplary damages may legally flow from intentional torts. We generally see Remittitur orders and other verdict-reductions in pure negligence cases. I don't think this amount will shock the conscience of an appellate court.

Original Mike said...

Althouse said: "Imagine doing colonoscopies all day long and not being able to joke around a bit."

Sebastian replied: "Right. Imagine x all day long and not being able to joke around a little bit. The teacher making fun of dumb students, the store manager making fun of clueless customers, the garbage collector making fun of other people's you-know-what, and on and on."


Not that I agree with the award, but I don't see the need to joke around either. What compels people to do it? I don't get it. You've got a job to do, do it and be professional about it. Wasn't Althouse just yesterday (rightly) extolling the virtues of professionalism?

tim in vermont said...

I once was only partially under and they didn't know it and the anesthetists were pretty insulting. I didn't know I could make 500K on it, but I did complain to the surgeon after. He thanked me, but who knows if they do it every time?

grackle said...

Oh, jurors! Sigh.

The only lawyer I ever knew well said she would rather have a system where cases were tried by a panel of judges instead of a jury because the juries are too easily swayed by emotion.

She also said that if she were guilty of a crime she preferred a jury trial – if she was innocent she wanted a military court-martial.


I admire those who have had colonoscopies without anesthesia – true stoics. I’ve had 4 and all with general anesthesia; without my request for it, btw. I thought anesthesia was routine. After due consideration I think I still prefer to be unconscious while someone pokes a 5-foot snake with a camera on the end of it up my ass.

CWJ said...

Absolutely NO sympathy for the anesthesiologist. None zero nada. Two too many bad experiences both for myself and a loved one, plus personal knowledge of two others becoming drug addicted. Not my favorite medical specialty, obviously.

Static Ping said...

Yeah, if I found out my doctor was making fun of me while I was under, I wouldn't care. As long as the medical stuff was done properly, he can call me a douche all he or she wants. The jury award here is silly.

The falsification of the medical results is much more troubling. That I would care about.

Robert Cook said...

"Would you really want to be operated on by a surgical team who felt like a total stranger was listening in on them every moment?"

Yes.

Is it so hard for doctors and nurses to refrain from making insulting remarks about the unconscious, helpless person on whom they're operating? If they must crack wise to relieve the tedium or tension, they should make their insulting remarks about each other.

Stephen said...

Lesson learned: no Hawkeyes or Trappers in the OR. And the world will be poorer...

Robert Cook said...

"Most amazing thing I've seen in years. I'm usually the first to Mass on Sunday, to set up the organ and hymn board."

Yes, your Christian piety and humility drips from every insult and hateful remark you post.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

"Imagine doing colonoscopies all day long and not being able to joke around a bit."

Yeah. Imagine doing colonoscopies all day long and not being able to "joke around a bit" in the presence of the patient. Is that so very difficult? Do you, Ann, find it difficult not to chuckle over bad exam papers in the presence of the students?

This is basic courtesy, bedrock, the smallest courtesy possible. Don't josh over someone when he's anesthetized on a gurney. Don't mock his weight, his height, his overbite, his sideburns, his whatever. Just. Do. Not.

Amexpat said...

I admire those who have had colonoscopies without anesthesia – true stoics. I’ve had 4 and all with general anesthesia; without my request for it, btw. I thought anesthesia was routine.

Having it without anesthesia is no big deal. I find going to the dentist more intrusive and unpleasant. The insertion of the "snake" was more of an odd sensation than painful and nowhere as bad as a prostate exam. It's very narrow and once it's in you don't feel anything else because you don't have nerves inside your intestines. The uncomfortable part is when they pump air in to get a good look. Felt like a real bad case of gas. Only reason I had valium after my first time is that there wasn't an extra cost (here in Norway) and I like the effect of valium. I wouldn't pay much for it out of my own pocket.

The upside of not having an anesthetic is that you can watch the procedure on TV. I was surprised at how clean and delicate looking my intestines looked. The doctor also gave a running commentary of what was on the screen.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said...Well, he seems to have missed a point. Oh, jurors! Sigh.

Given the facts of the case shouldn't the defendant have pushed hard for a settlement? Especially after a determination that the case would be heard by a jury?
It's fine to sigh over the fallibility of jurors, but our system of justice is built around just such fallibility, and recognizing that ought to be a core component of legal intelligence, no?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

The larger question, really, is why don't more people insist on a record being kept of what happens when they're unconscious? Medical mistakes wound and kill a surprisingly large # of people each year, and in a society as litigious as ours (esp. around medical matters) you'd think more people would insist on being recorded. There are some definite moral hazard and/or adverse selection problems on the Drs' side, of course, so this might be one of those market failures we hear about so frequently--you know, the ones where a regulation/legislation is needed to force a good outcome.

n.n said...

It seems like a practical test to assess the effectiveness of the anesthetic.

Owen said...

(1) stupid award that sends a bad message; (2) appears to have destroyed the anesthesiologist's practice and possibly her career, thus wildly disproportionate "justice" even if we agree "she had it coming"; (3) the joking around was unprofessional but was ultimately just harmless joking, and a wrist-slap would have been enough; (3) was the recording even legal? What does local law say about recording other people without their consent? Was this argument available to the defense, and if so was it made, and if so what did the court and jury say? (4) unclear whether the false diagnosis was really made and entered in the chart, that to me is much more troublesome (what possible excuse could there be for that? Looks like malpractice and possibly malicious malpractice, or maybe a way to set up future procedures and billing for them, thus fraudulent billing scheme?).

Short version: a case in which everybody ended up covered with --excuse me-- fecal matter.

Peter said...

So, we learn yet again that tort law is a lottery in which those grievously injured may receive little or nothing while those whose injuries are light or nonexistent sometimes win a big payday. And lawyers take at least a third even before the compensation is even delivered.

Other than perhaps distributing awards by lottery, it's hard to think of a compensation system that could be less efficient or less just.

Beach Brutus said...

Dark, wry, provocative, and yes callous humor is a way of dealing with stressful situations. I have a problem with the intentionally false diagnosis, but the other comments seem to be a doctor's equivalent of locker room humor. They don't fall well on polite ears, but as one commenter above noted, do we want to exclude the Hawkeyes and Trapper Johns because they vent a little on their unconscious patients? Will hospitals and boards of medicine now adopt and police speech codes? On balance I think the defendant was right, this guy needs to man up a little.

Michael K said...

There is a fair amount of casual talk in an OR unless the surgeon is an asshole and the tone should be relaxed, even or especially, in big cases. I've spent 50 years in operating rooms and they are pretty much similar. I don't recall many cases in which the patient was the topic of humor or any conversation. I have had patients who had been under general anesthesia tell me about what was said. I know of a couple of cases in which patients felt the pain and could not let anyone know. Those stories are in my book.

The movie "The Doctor" has a somewhat exaggerated version of casual OR conversation. I show that movie to my students most years.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Owen, if I have you right, you're saying: (1) Stupid award is stupid; (2) nice lady anesthesiologist didn't need to lose her job over this; (3) hey, it's just jokes; can't you take a joke?; (3 -- no, 4) the recording was probably illegal anyway; (4 -- no, 5, and the only one you actually give credence to) did she enter diagnoses of syphilis and tuberculosis on the poor dude's chart, or merely say she was going to? Apparently this last is the only one that matters.

I say that you don't do this. You don't do it as a doctor any more than you do it as a trash handler or a bouncer or a bookseller. As an anesthesiologist, you have the advantage over these other types in that your patient is unconscious and helpless. Better?

Phil 3:14 said...

My hunch would be that this doc had other "issues" and other episodes.

madAsHell said...

I like the effect of valium.

No kidding. I woke up after the colonoscopy, and felt GOOD.

The blood pressure monitor showed 120/70. I don't know why the doctor won't give me Valium to manage my blood pressure.
/just_kidding

TheThinMan said...

I remember reading about a study back in the 80s that showed patients take in what is said about them when they're under anesthesia. When doctors say disparaging remarks, the patient doesn't recover as well or as quickly, or maybe not at all if he was in critical condition. Conversely, if the doctors made encouraging remarks the patient did a lot better. As a result of that study, doctors were advised to talk as if the patient could hear what they were saying be actually did. Whatever happened to the study and the resulting advice to doctors were supposed to get?

BN said...

What a great country!

Jury awards like this for bogus stuff may be wrong, corrupt, stupid, however you want to define/criticize it. But everyone got paid! And the cost was spread across everyone in this society--like taxes--so as to be practically negligible.

And just think of who all got paid! Doctors, lawyers, the patient (and his spouse and family), the judges, the jurors, the whole juridicial bureacracy... and insurance agents, insurance staff, etc., etc... Even the burger flippers near the courthouse! Hell, even parking attendents, security guards, support staff... journalists... Even yer local neighborhood humble spidey blogger!

And who was hurt really? Well, "Society" arguably/philosophically, maybe. But really, who gives a shit about that?

BN said...

If Trump was really smart he'd base his economic stimulus plan on "insulting colonoscopies for everyone!"

BN said...

"If you feel any empathy for the health workers..."

They didn't pay. The insurance companies did. No wait. Their customers did. No wait, that was the medi-industrial complex and they just pass the costs on... so THEIR customers did. So in essence, the patient (and all other colonoscopy patients) did! No wait... they all have insurance (who'd have a colonoscopy if they had to pay for it themselves?). So... who paid?

BN said...

My point is, this is just another ingenious form of income redistribution. Keynesian velocity of money in action. Win win. Open up your wallet, baby, let's all share in the colonoscopical joy of living together.

Having said that, its little known, but the history of insurance is deeply intertwined with the birth and ongoing development and evolution of capitalism. So... Capitalism is really just another word for the things we do together, I guess.

William said...

I wonder if the sacrificial victims in Aztec rites had to put on gowns with the opening to the back before the ceremony. That whole opening to the back thing increases your sense of vulnerability. "Your ass is mine. Not figuratively." Be quiet and accept your fate. You're in the hands of a higher power. I bet the Aztec surgeons had killer jokes about hearts that went all a fib and slipped out of their hands.

BN said...

"...because the juries are too easily swayed by emotion. "

I've served on juries in civil cases. It's partly emotion, for some, but for many it's mostly just disinterest. Half of them will vote anyway you say if it will just get them out of there and back home ASAP. The jury system is like democracy... It sucks except for the worst case dictatorish alternatives (which always happen eventually in any other types of systems).

Annie said...

The prepping for a colonoscopy gives everyone hemorrhoids or so the nurse in the recovery told me.

Annie said...

I suspect most people would like to think that the focus of their medical professionals is on them, the patient, no matter how routine and mundane the procedure. Save the comedy and snark for breaktime or the Christmas party.

Yeah, that. Most people don't want to be there and are embarrassed to be in such a vulnerable position. The least the 'professionals', who make damn good money off you and your insurance, can do, is be professional and empathetic to the person getting roto-rootered.

Darleen said...

Having it without anesthesia is no big deal

I guess it depends on the person. I have what is described as a "tortuous colon" including diverticula. The usual sedative during a colonoscopy didn't affect me at all and I told 'em I was feeling every painful bit. A second shot had no affect. So I was rescheduled and put under with propofol.

The requirement or not of anesthesia has little to do with character or ability to withstand pain. Indeed, I had 4 natural and fully unmedicated births and those didn't bother me at all.

That said, if the colonoscopy team feels a need to joke, insult and comment about the patient DURING the procedure, rather than waiting until break time, then they have no business in the business of performing colonoscopies.

This isn't an episode of M.A.S.H.

Owen said...

Michelle: you are correct on (1); overstating my position on (2); not addressing my question on (3); and correct on (4). I hold no brief for these defendants. They were total jerks. That is what "sun professional" means to me, but maybe you need more words and some high dudgeon thrown in. My main issue -precisely because I don't have a dog in this particular fight-- is the lack of proportionality between the offense and the punishment. Or should I say the reward? Some guy undergoes a colonoscopy. He suffers no injury and presumably got the service for which he (his insurer/the rest of us) paid. "Inadvertently" and "to his horror" he finds he has recorded the event during which he was the object of really poor humor. And for this trauma he collects half a million bucks, that the rest if us will ante up, one way or anything their. I call that stupid all right.

A big problem in our society is taking ourselves so damned seriously. Microaggression a are just the latest absurd example. We want to criminalize things we don't approve of. We seem to be so unsure of our moral ground that we resort to litigation to vindicate every slight. This plaintiff felt he had been insulted. He was owed an apology --no, an abject, contrite, groveling apology.

He was not owed a king's ransom. If anyone should feel ashamed of this outcome, it is he.

Richard Dolan said...

Ann recommends the TV show Getting On, which I confess I have never seen or heard of. This story reminded me of a bad episode of MASH, for those who still remember that TV series. Raunchy chatter by the docs was a running joke and usually good for a laugh.

BN said...

"So... who paid?"

Duh. We paid, sucker. Feel empathic all you want.

Can one actually "empathize" with oneself?

n.n said...

TheThinMan:

That is a logical conclusion. Sensory information is consumed in two steps: recording and processing. The latter may occur in two modes: imprinting and interpretation.

TheThinMan said...

Thanks for that affirmation. I should do a search for the June/July 1982 NYT article I remember reading, and subsequent articles on the subject. We all remember having dreams that incorporated the voices and sounds around us, especially if we left our radio on, so it makes sense that we hear what's being said while sleeping on an operating table as much as when we're sleeping in our bed. That the sleep is chemically induced shouldn't make a difference.

mikee said...

In college, late one Saturday night I once leapt down a stairwell and bonked my head open. My friends took me to the local ER, where I was stitched up.

The nurse covered my face with surgical towels, leaving my split-open forehead visible to be stitched up. Then a doctor introduced himself, and a paramedic introduced himself, saying he was observing as part of his training.

I bantered with the three of them while they stitched me up, mostly about how I managed to hurt myself despite NOT being intoxicated on a Saturday night.

Seven stitches later, my face still covered with the green towels, the doc says to the paramedic, "Not bad for a guy who has only practiced only on oranges!" And the paramedic replies, "Thanks!"

To this day I don't know if they were joking, or not. But since the stitches were done well, I have to echo Hillary and rhetorically ask, "At this point in time, what difference does it make?"

Sofa King said...

Even on M*A*S*H, I don't really recall Hawkeye and BJ mocking the soldiers on the operating table.