April 8, 2016

"Patient secretly recorded doctors as they operated on her. Should she be so distressed by what she heard?"

I don't know about that.

But it occurred to me: Why aren't we entitled to a recording of what is said around our body when we're under anesthesia? Why should you have to sneak a recording device into your ponytail? You have to be knocked out for the surgery, and all these people have access to your vulnerable body, why shouldn't you have a right to use an artificial device to do what your senses would normally do — monitor what's happening to you? Do the doctors and nurses have an interest in having a private conversation around your body? I'd say you have the greater interest in finding out what's happening to you when you're unconscious. Anyone who wants to make a recording should be able to do it openly. You wouldn't need to take any additional steps to improve the "bedside manner" of doctors and nurses.

What's the argument on the other side? The only halfway decent thing I can think of is that maybe better surgery gets done when doctors and nurses are blowing off steam, blabbing carelessly, aimlessly and not distracted by wondering what the patient will think of it. Remarks about how some body part looks — maybe it helps to say something crude or mean now and then. Maybe it's important not to think of everything from the point of view of a patient who might be sensitive and unduly judgmental.

IN THE COMMENTS: MisterBuddwing said:
Er, Professor, you tackled this very subject last December: http://althouse.blogspot.com/2015/12/after-five-minutes-of-talking-to-you-in.html
That post is about a man who used his cell phone to make a recording, and, in the comments there, 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?
And I said:
Can't you just buy something like this and pin it inside the hospital gown or hide it in your hair?
That's what the lady in this new article did. I'm not saying she got the idea from me — she did it before I made the suggestion — just that it's not such an odd and paranoid thing to think of getting a tiny USB device and hiding it in your hair.

109 comments:

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Yes, absolutely, give doctors one more damn thing to have to worry about being sued or hassled over, and then wonder why no one wants to go to medical school anymore and you're using those stupid essential oils that everyone is selling these days to calm down your ruptured appendix.

I'm sick to goddamn death of the Special Snowflake syndrome in this country. How ludicriously self-absorbed do you have to be to sneak in a monitoring device because you want to know what they're saying about you? Patients, know your place. Do your homework before surgery and then show up and do your job, which is to sit down, shut up, do what you're told, and let them do their work.

Clayton Hennesey said...

On the other hand, being forced to listen to patients still under the influence of Versed (Midazolam) (having been one myself), I think in all fairness I would have to score this one a draw.

MadisonMan said...

Gallows Humor never killed anyone.

Blow off steam at my expense if it leads to a successful surgical outcome (should I ever need surgery).

The decision on the recording about antibiotics is the only thing that should concern the Hospital where this happened. I would think a doctor would err way over on the side of caution when it comes to potential reactions.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

I read the linked article and despite the Post's attempt to make her sympathetic she sounds like a huge pain in the ass. Though I do think that talking about Bill Cosby moments while someone is unconscious is beyond the pale. As for the precious comment, that probably is a reference to The Lord of the Rings.

As for your question, it doesn't really matter how surgeons feel about listening devices. The article stated that her's was about the size of an USB drive and was hidden in hair extensions. In the not to distant future they will be much smaller and you will be able to stash them in your ear or even have them injected under your skin like they do tracking chips for pets.

There is no privacy any longer.

Darcy said...

This has happened to me. I overheard unkind comments before I was completely under. While unpleasant to hear, my view many years later is that they didn't know I could hear and that this is likely just as you suggested - their way of blowing off steam. Not intended to harm anyone.

I got over it.

bagoh20 said...

I'm for it, but the best argument against it is: LAWYERS. Everything said will be scrutinized for litigation potential - fair or not. Result: less doctors and less surgery. Could you people just stop producing these parasites. We have a lifetime supply already.

Rick said...

From the start, Easter was troubled that she didn’t trust her own surgeon, but she was in too much pain to cancel the operation. Then she had an idea: She would go through with the surgery — it was ultimately scheduled about a month later, for August — but she would sneak a recorder into the operating room so that her family could know what happened to her in case things went wrong. She had a “bad feeling,” after all.

Give me a break. Her surgery was right after [that June] a patient was awarded huge damages after her anesthesiologist was recorded criticizing her during surgery. If you don't trust the surgeon you're referred to find someone else. It's crazy to believe a recording is going to protect you.

Curious George said...

Well, if you hear "Oh, shit" or "Ooops" you might be justified....

MayBee said...

When would it not be good to know what other people are saying about you? We should always be able to record everyone.
And the government should record everyone too. Someone might be doing something illegal or dangerous.

Tommy Duncan said...

Results matter. Was the operation successful? If so, then she can buzz off.

The comments were not intentionally hurtful. The staff had a reasonable expectation of privacy while they worked. As far as I'm concerned the patient was in the wrong for recording without informing the medical staff.

This is just workplace banter. You'd hear similar stuff in medical records and billing if you could record the conversations there.

I'm sure the folks on the assembly line building my new car crack some off color jokes. I don't care as long as they build a good car. What they say while working on my car is none of my business unless I inform them I'll be recording their comments.

Rae said...

I think the doctor and nurses behaved in an unprofessional manner. And I she should start her field medical studies, because she's going to find it difficult to get an appointment in the future.

Mary Beth said...

She was unhappy with the amount of wait time before her surgery. She says she wasn't comfortable with her doctor. Why didn't she see another doctor at another hospital? feel like there's a lot of the story that's being left out.

Bay Area Guy said...

If there were cosmic tape-recorders documenting everything we ever said in any context, we'd all be in heap big trouble.

To see modern-day fools challenging this axiom is, well, foolish.

No, I don't want to tape-record people talking about me, when I'm not around, Geez. And, if I'm under anesthesia, I ain't around.

traditionalguy said...

Good surgeons are necessarily non-empathetic technicians that have a cynical view of patients as strange oddities in need. Avoid them whenever possible, but if you need one, then find the best and skip judging him for likable personality.

Of course that is the same reason I tell folks to vote for Trump. After he has fixed the disasters we need to face, then we can go back to hating his personality and fire him for it.

MisterBuddwing said...

Er, Professor, you tackled this very subject last December: http://althouse.blogspot.com/2015/12/after-five-minutes-of-talking-to-you-in.html

(What I said in the comments at the time still stands.)

rcocean said...

I thought tape recording people without their permission was illegal in most states.

Other than that, this is an example of lawyers running amok.

Ann Althouse said...

My point is the patient should have a right to make a recording. It's her body and she's being disabled from monitoring it in the normal way, through her senses. Why shouldn't she be able to use a device to replace her disabled senses to be aware of what is being done to her body. It seems to be part of a person's sovereignty over her body.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

I think you should be able to record what is happening to you when you are unconscious. In fact, why isn't the entire thing being recorded visually and orally? After all, we have the technology now.

Because the recordings could be used as evidence in the case of a screw up.

Bay Area Guy said...

"My point is the patient should have a right to make a recording"

Althouse's default 60's liberalism about "rights." Ugh.

Does the doctor have the right to say, "Piss off, crazy cat lady, go find another doctor?" That's how I would respond.

Birches said...

If she thinks their talk is bad, she definitely doesn't want to know what the servers do to her food...

Recording because you are unconscious is a slippery slope. I think the doctors have a reasonable right to privacy too. That expectation comes when you consent to allow them to put you under. My last anesthesiologist really put me off personally. But it was the best epidural I ever had. I'm sure if I were under, there would have been plenty of fodder to mock me for. Oh well.

SeanF said...

An audio recording is pretty much useless for determining what was "being done to her body," isn't it? They could talk about it without doing it, or do it without talking about it.

You have no more right to know what the medical staff say about you when you're unconscious than you do to know what they say about you when you're not in the room.

Ann Althouse said...

"I thought tape recording people without their permission was illegal in most states."

I'm saying this should be legal. You're giving people access to your helpless body and being disabled from monitoring it in the normal way.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

My point is the patient should have a right to make a recording. It's her body and she's being disabled from monitoring it in the normal way, through her senses. Why shouldn't she be able to use a device to replace her disabled senses to be aware of what is being done to her body. It seems to be part of a person's sovereignty over her body.

Ok, fine, I guess, although I am very dubious that such a recording would have any value to a layperson unless she's trolling for lawsuit fodder.

But shouldn't the surgical team at least have to consent to that? Are you OK with being recorded in your workplace without consent?

Ann Althouse said...

"An audio recording is pretty much useless for determining what was "being done to her body," isn't it? They could talk about it without doing it, or do it without talking about it."

It's not "useless." It's just not fully useful.

Could make a video recording too, but most people don't want their exposed body on video.

Fernandinande said...

Mary Beth said...
feel like there's a lot of the story that's being left out.


No doubt - the caption to the video is dishonest:
This woman secretly recorded her doctors during surgery. Here's what she heard.

She heard bad music?

Hagar said...

Perhaps hospitals should routinely take video recordings of all operations as a precaution against frivolous suits?

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Bing brought back the following:

http://www.nytimes.com/1997/08/08/nyregion/dentist-is-charged-in-sex-abuse-of-patient.html

http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/12-Victims-Added-to-Dental-Assistant-Sex-Case-DA--370727881.html

http://www.thestar.com/news/crime/2010/03/12/doctor_accused_of_sex_assaults_on_patients_under_anesthetic.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/georgetown-dentist-charged-with-sexually-assaulting-patient-during-procedure/2016/01/28/775d0cd2-c608-11e5-9693-933a4d31bcc8_story.html

Use the search terms: dentist anesthesia sex crime

Also, note that in the story at the 2nd URL cameras were installed to "to provide an '“extra layer of protection” for patients and as “an effort at transparency.”'

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Oh, and this is NSFW

https://vimeo.com/143466997

traditionalguy said...

But, but, will concealing a recording device in your hair be a help to defend a man under accusation of rape.

The Feminist War on Men will soon wake up and try to make such recordings made illegal, for no other reason than it takes away a woman's power to make a sexual assault charge. That is losing as powerful a political tool as a woman's power to kill unborn babies at will.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Winkleheimer: do you have links to the thousands of surgical procedures that take place every day without incident? Let's not lose perspective here.

Unattorney said...

Clients should be able to secretly tape record all conversations with their lawyer.

MayBee said...

If someone says something mean about to your body when you are under anesthesia you might not know it.

Are you more or less affected than if someone says something mean about you when they are determining whether they should give you a loan, or if they are planning on doing something mean to you like plant a bomb at your subway stop? We should be able to know what people are saying that might affect us!

I say someone planning a bombing hurts me more than someone saying I have fat thighs when I'm under anesthesia. So I want everyone recorded all the time because I want to be safe.

Safe safe safe.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

I don't need a recording device to know that medical staff are mocking my genitals.

MayBee said...

Ha yes traditional guy! You should be able to record sex so you can either prove or disprove the rape allegations.

You should probably have a recording device in your bedroom at all times, because who knows what someone will do to you in your sleep. Say you are a guy who invites a lot of girls home with you after the bar closes. Definitely need to record that.

Birkel said...

Anybody else read about all the doctors who are leaving the medical profession now that Obama-Insurance has made their lives more difficult and less fulfilling?

Let's really erode that profession with lawsuits about things said while under General anesthesia. That will be great.

Bruce Hayden said...

One thought on the tape recording of the surgeons, etc. Currently, you have to sign a bunch of documents in order for them to operate on you. They try to protect the doctors and hospital from being sued. So, maybe throw in a line or two to those forms that gives the doctors complete ownership of whatever they say and whatever media it is recorded on. Maybe also admission that if the recording is listened to, or otherwise distributed, the patient is liable for the greater of (copyright) statutory and actual damages. Something like that.

And, yes, the people in the operating room more than likely do own the contents of the recording, and not the patient doing the recording. As long as there is sufficient original expression (which is an extremely low bar - the primary case just said that an alphabetical list in a telephone directory didn't qualify), then the authors of the original expression have a copyright over the expression. In this case, the "authors" would probably be the hospital, the surgeon's practice group, and the gas passer's practice group. Unless it was them individually (your employer is considered the author of your work when your original expression is first fixed in a tangible medium within the scope of your employment under the Work for Hire doctrine). Turns out that it depends on the type of recorder whether or not the patient can legally even listen to the recording (replaying it on a phone or computer is probably infringing, but maybe not for an old analog recorder).

SeanF said...

Ann Althouse: It's not "useless." It's just not fully useful.

Give me an example of a potential use.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

@I Have Misplaced My Pants

I think you have misjudged my intent. I am not saying that sexual assault during dental or surgical procedures is widespread. However, they do occur and pretty soon dentists and surgeons will want recordings to be made as safeguards against spurious accusations and patients will not utilize dentists and surgeons who do not make recordings because they will mistrust them.

That is where our society is heading.

Imagine something 1/10 this size with a camera.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkInO7EJoXk&nohtml5=False

Soon you won't even be able to be sure you are not being recorded when you are in the shower.

I say again, there is no longer any privacy.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Also, imagine it being created on a 3D printer in peoples homes using plans/software downloaded from the net.

Bruce Hayden said...

Further thought - if the doctors and hospitals included some more copyright language in their forms, language that essentially agrees that whatever is said during the surgery is protected by copyright, and that the patient acknowledges this, then they may be able to argue that the infringement was intentional, opening the patient to increased damages. This means that the standard maybe $10k statutory damages could potentially be increased to $50k, for every time that the recording is played back, rerecorded, etc. Obviously, the purpose of this is its in terrorem affect.

Don't you just love attorneys getting involved here?

Gahrie said...

Why would you care what the doctors and nurses are saying?

Richard said...

Does the good professor think that Row vs. Wade should be overturned?

Ron Winkleheimer said...

@Bruce Hayden

What happens when nobody can be proved to have made the recording?

Also, what happens when people start asking why the doctors/hospitals are so keen to prevent recording.

What, the public will ask, the hell is going on while patients are unconscious and out of site of the general public?

Birkel said...

Professor Althouse should concern herself with access to doctors if she plans not to die from unrecoverable trauma.

Perhaps society will want a few around...

Gahrie said...

It seems to be part of a person's sovereignty over her body.

We are not sovereign over our own bodies...that's the first fallacy pro-abortion people make.

The government regulates what we put in to our bodies, what we remove from our bodies, how we modify our bodies, whether or not we can sell products from, or parts of, our bodies....it prevents us from using our bodies in ways we may desire.

ex.1: Married men have to get permission from their wives to have a vasectomy.

At best we have shared sovereignty over our bodies.

Gabriel said...

I'm not sure a lot of people got to the end of the article. This wasn't just mean comments.

1) They talked about inappropriate touching and inappropriate photography.

2) They dismissed her statement about a penicillin allergy and just went ahead and gave it to her anyway, which caused an allergic reaction, just like she told them it would.

The mean comments came before, after, and during all that.

Bruce Hayden said...

Also, what happens when people start asking why the doctors/hospitals are so keen to prevent recording.

Technically, the doctors wouldn't be trying to prevent recording, but rather, just making sure that they have ownership of what they say. Which, as I indicated, they probably do already.

That is not to say that copyright cannot be used offensively, as well as defensively, to control access to the copyright protected work. For example, the Scientologists are notorious for their use of copyright to prevent public publication of the contents of their sacred scriptures (which you apparently have to pay a lot of money to get access to, after joining their "church").

We know what the doctors would be trying to keep secret - first, their black humor, and anything else embarrassing, and, maybe secondly, any hint of malpractice.

Bruce Hayden said...

ex.1: Married men have to get permission from their wives to have a vasectomy.

Which would be sexist if wives didn't need their husbands' permission to have their tubes tied, etc. But, women don't need permission from their partners to abort babies that the fathers would need to support financially if not aborted. Always was a bit of sexism here.

MadisonMan said...

I'm vaguely reminded of a couple things: People who read others' emails and then are distressed what they find. If you aren't prepared for the results of your snooping, then do not snoop. That's pretty easy.

The other thing I'm reminded of, from Dear Prudence at Slate (the Dear Prudence column has not improved since Mallory Ortberg took over, FWIW): A woman gets back in touch with a man she loved for years (but she never told him) and is distressed to learn that he loved her too back then (but didn't tell her), but now they're all married to someone else. What did you think would happen when you contacted him, you idiot?

If you aren't prepared for the truth, don't go seeking it out, and especially don't complain when you hear it. What, exactly, did this woman with the recording device expect to hear? Gushy compliments?

john mosby said...

Wow, my own tag, after all these years!

JSM

Jim Harvey said...

These doctors should have been taught Latin to avoid this kind of unlettered hysteria.

The comments on the Washington Post article include statements like "prevent this from happening to other patients". What exactly happened to her that needs to be prevented.

Sydney said...

It isn't at all clear that the comments about touching and Bill Cosby and "Precious" even refer to her. They could be banter between the colleagues about other things or even continuations of discussions they had earlier.

Sebastian said...

"It's crazy to believe a recording is going to protect you." She didn't want to be "protected"; she wanted material for a lawsuit.

"My point is the patient should have a right to make a recording. It's her body and she's being disabled from monitoring it in the normal way, through her senses. Why shouldn't she be able to use a device to replace her disabled senses to be aware of what is being done to her body. It seems to be part of a person's sovereignty over her body." OMFG. Recording a surgeon doing her thing doesn't maintain your sovereignty. Even if snowflakes want stuff recorded, other interests outweigh their precious sensibilities. And of course, even if Progs fabricate this as another "right," because physical sovereignty obviously follows from substantive due process, physicians should have the corresponding right to decline to operate on patients who are a pain to them, because freedom of association (if we can derive SSM from the 14th, we can derive a professional's right peacefully to disassemble from the 1st).

Ron Winkleheimer said...

http://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2016/03/31/spy-camera-clothing-hook-jnd-orig.cnn/video/playlists/peeping-incidents/

This is from 2007
http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/robotics-software/the_coolest_flying_robot_proje


http://www.businessinsider.com/the-future-of-micro-drones-is-getting-pretty-scary-according-to-alan-lovejoy-2012-6

In 1992 I built my first PC out of parts I scrounged from old computers that were being disposed of. The most expensive part was a 20 Meg hard drive that I bought from Best Buy (I think) for $150 - $200 dollars. After a couple of months I had saved enough money to be able to replace the black and white monitor I was using for a VGA Color monitor. The computer's CPU was an Intel 386 and to get on the Internet I used a 9600 baud modem to dial into AOL when I was at home.

I now have a three terabyte external disk drive that cost me about $50.

My smartphone has far more computing power than that first computer had. In fact, it has 16 GB of storage space, 2 GB of RAM (8 Meg in my first computer) and a 1280x720 High Definition display, on which I can watch videos using wifi technology (since I don't want go over limit on my data plan.)

Absent a Mad Max type societal collapse, people are going to be under surveillance in the future.

Milwaukee said...

"I'm saying this should be legal. You're giving people access to your helpless body and being disabled from monitoring it in the normal way."

No. Bring a friend along, if you are worried. What are you worried about? Rape? There will be loads of people. Wrong side amputation? Use lots of markers before hand, and have the friend.

Many medical hospitals restrict the use of recording devices, either pictures, video, or audio recordings. Patients are allowed to have somebody with them taking notes. Perhaps she should have a person sitting in the corner of the operating room. If she doesn't trust the doctor she shouldn't have gone to him. End of story.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Oh, and it fits in my pocket.

Robert Cook said...

Doctors and cops should behave and speak as they would if they knew they were under audio and video surveillance at all times. If they cannot behave professionally when performing their work, they need to quit and do something else. If they are caught and professionally embarrassed--or worse--as a result of their words and deeds, tough shit for them.

Michael said...

How can people be expected to work effectively, perhaps in a stressful life-and-death situation, if they have to parse every word they say for its lawsuit or social media assault potential? How can they discuss risks and benefits candidly if they have to worry about handing ammunition to lawyers in the event of a "good decision, bad outcome" situation. Something that has a potentially fatal outcome may still be the right thing to do based on the percentages, but a jury might not understand Bayesian logic. The result would be doctors and nurses just not talking, which is unlikely to result in better service.

Ann Althouse said...

"Give me an example of a potential use."

To influence doctors and nurses to treat your unconscious body with respect. To learn whether you are being insulted, whether there is an attentive, serious atmosphere as you undergo a procedure, and to get some sense of whether the personnel are working as an effective, knowledgable team.

Ann Althouse said...

"Many medical hospitals restrict the use of recording devices, either pictures, video, or audio recordings. Patients are allowed to have somebody with them taking notes. Perhaps she should have a person sitting in the corner of the operating room. If she doesn't trust the doctor she shouldn't have gone to him. End of story."

No, it's not the end of the story. What if the state legislature passed a law saying any patient undergoing anesthesia has a right to use a recording device. You're just arguing against a policy you don't like. I can't imagine why you think you can make an argument and announce that it ends the story. The story is ended when the people are persuaded that there should be no such right to record.

Ann Althouse said...

Permanently persuaded.

Which can't happen.

Lem said...

Yet another way men are oppressed by women. When men lose their hair they are deprived of this concealment advantage given to women.

Fight the power. #FreStacy.

Richard said...

"To influence doctors and nurses to treat your unconscious body with respect. To learn whether you are being insulted, whether there is an attentive, serious atmosphere as you undergo a procedure, and to get some sense of whether the personnel are working as an effective, knowledgable team."

Everyone should be forced to wear a recorder 24/7 so that we will be able to find out if anyone said anything bad about us. How can we live not knowing if there is someone who says mean things about us when we are not around.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Something that has a potentially fatal outcome may still be the right thing to do based on the percentages, but a jury might not understand Bayesian logic.

I am not a lawyer, but my understanding is that a finding of malpractice requires actual malpractice, that is the doctor has to do something that is not standard procedure. A bad outcome does not mean a doctor has committed malpractice.

Paco Wové said...

"Doctors and cops should behave and speak as they would if they knew they were under audio and video surveillance at all times."

Why 'doctors and cops' specifically?

The Cracker Emcee said...

Ethics, legalities and body-shaming aside, it strikes me that this woman is by nature a hysterical drama-queen who spends her life searching for the next grievance. What a sick clown. I've never had a medical procedure, however slight or great, where I wasn't delighted to just heal and move on. What kind of self-obsessed freak wants to "play the tape"?

Paco Wové said...

"it strikes me that this woman is by nature a hysterical drama-queen who spends her life searching for the next grievance."

That was my impression also, before the story even got to the surgery part.

Paco Wové said...

Of course, the Washington Post is written by and for hysterical drama queens, so writing about them just completes the circle.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Yeah, I think the smart counterargument uses the threat of liability and posits that the employees will be less-than-frank/plainspoken at a time when that might have harmful consequences.

In the situation with no recording a surgeon might say out loud "oh shit, we nicked an artery" or something and everyone would react appropriately.
In the same situation w/recording the surgeon would have an incentive to verbally downplay the problem/paint it as normal or not a big deal (lest that be used against the surgeon in a lawsuit later) and try to rely on nonverbal cues or some such to communicate to the others involved that it is a bad problem. Using more-careful communication could mean having objectively worse/less clear communication in situations where clear communication is very important.

I dunno, that's just devil's advocate stuff; personally I think it'd be a good thing to record the procedures and I'd be interested to know how the big insurers would feel about it--I could see it cutting both ways w/them.

Drs probably wouldn't want it, trial lawyers probably would, ins. companies I'm not sure about.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

"it strikes me that this woman is by nature a hysterical drama-queen who spends her life searching for the next grievance."

Oh yeah, definitely.

Gusty Winds said...

Blogger Ann Althouse said...

My point is the patient should have a right to make a recording....It seems to be part of a person's sovereignty over her body.

Does the hospital or the doctor then have the right to refuse service?

Why the gender specific sovereignty concern?

Do women want audio and video recordings of their abortions?

This woman seems ridiculous. First threatening to call a lawyer if she doesn't get scheduled. Then making the recording. She's looking for a payout. She's not thinking about the sovereignty of her body.

Gusty Winds said...

If the situation were reversed, and the hospital or doctor insisted on audio and video recordings of surgical procedures, would the patient have the right to refuse?

Mary Beth said...

2) They dismissed her statement about a penicillin allergy and just went ahead and gave it to her anyway, which caused an allergic reaction, just like she told them it would.

Not exactly. "He said in the recording that swelling and rashes were not severe enough reactions to preclude Easter from receiving Ancef, an antibiotic injection that causes side effects in a small percentage of penicillin-allergic patients. The surgeon suggested first giving Easter a small dose as a trial."

She'd had a reaction to penicillin, but it wasn't life-threatening. Only a small percentage of penicillin allergic people are negatively affected by this antibiotic so a small amount given as a test seems logical. According to Wikipedia, it's an alternative to penicillin in patients who are allergic to penicillin.

Also, it's out of patent, so I would think that the cost of a generic versus other antibiotics might have been a consideration.

ObeliskToucher said...

"To learn whether you are being insulted, whether there is an attentive, serious atmosphere as you undergo a procedure..."

To what end? And is a medical team spending (quite literally) hours keeping you alive and well required to effect a monastical approach to the job, or can they also be human co-workers who have conversations. Furthermore, are you fit to judge how "attentive" they are to the matter at hand, irregardless of a perhaps sub-monastical approach to what is fundamentally a difficult, detail-oriented, tedious, and stressful job?

"and to get some sense of whether the personnel are working as an effective, knowledgable team."

It would be a little late to find this out after the operation, don't you think? When I went to Michigan State, there was a pamphlet called "Rating the Profs" which provided useful information -- perhaps there is something similar for medical teams.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

(By "insurance companies" in my earlier comment I meant malpractice insurers.)

boycat said...

Operating theaters ought to be blanketed with video and audio recording devices for all manner of reasons, including to officially preserve for the record everything that occurred there.

MadisonMan said...

Why 'doctors and cops' specifically?

They're the most likely to kill you.

Gabriel said...

@Mary Beth: I accept your correction, they didn't give her penicillin.

Now, I hope you have enough philosophy in your temperament, that when you find out your allergy concerns were dismissed by doctors who insulted you, and discussed inappropriately photographing and touching you, as well as mocking you, when you were unconscious and completely at their mercy--and to top it all off, you have to go back to the emergency room because you were, in fact, allergic to what they gave you and dismissed your concerns about--I hope you have enough philosophy in your temperament to react to the experience as you did when it happened to someone else.

n.n said...

Recording, yes. Opportunism, no.

First, the hospital should already be recording the procedure for quality purposes. And, second, that video should be available to the consumer as part of the service.

Gabriel said...

@obeliskToucher:And is a medical team spending (quite literally) hours keeping you alive and well required to effect a monastical approach to the job, or can they also be human co-workers who have conversations.

Is there some middle ground we can explore, where the doctors are human and joke, but don't discuss inappropriately touching and photographing their helpless, sedated patients?

Do you really just throw up your hands and say there is nowhere to draw the line between being monks and saints vs being callous perverts?

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

A.A. "My point is the patient should have a right to make a recording. It's her body and she's being disabled from monitoring..."

Sure. That and the right to have airline pilots videotaped starting with flight planning and continuing in the cockpit. Every new car should be delivered with a video record of it's trip down the assembly line, and previous 24 hours of activity of every person who had a hand in assembling the vehicle. After all, our lives are in the care of these people.

Peter said...

Perhaps it comes down to whether you'd want lawyers or doctors to be the persons with the most authority in the operating room?

In any case, the recording device is one more distraction to those working in the O.R.; overall it's hard to see that the quality of work done their is more likely to be enhanced than hindered by the possibility that there may be one present.

Gabriel said...

@Madison Man:Why 'doctors and cops' specifically?

They're the most likely to kill you.


In addition there is (with cops) the sovereign immunity issue; where the SWAT team raids your home, shoots your dogs, and burns your toddler's face off because they were looking for someone who doesn't even live there, and didn't bother to check if they were throwing a flash grenade into a crib or not--and the state doesn't owe you a dime.

Gabriel said...

@Peter:t's hard to see that the quality of work done their is more likely to be enhanced than hindered by the possibility that there may be one present.

In this case they discussed that possibility and it didn't seem to bother them much. The fact is that you never know who is recording you these days.

coupe said...

It's a form of voyeurism. Who really gives a crap what the mechanic says when he's working on your engine. Be satisfied that your bad diet and potatoe chip plunking fat ass can still be repaired.

Although it would be neat for the morgue to listen to after they move you to the freezer.

Sebastian said...

While we are at it: taxpayers should have full video access to all classes taught by instructors at institutions paid for in part by their money. In America, after all, it is not the individual but "the people" who are sovereign, and as our hostess has told us, it is sovereignty that governs here.

Robert Cook said...

"Why 'doctors and cops' specifically?"

Because doctors and cops have respectively unique and privileged power over others, a power than can often be abused, in situations where, typically, the person subject to the doctor or cop's power is essentially or literally helpless.

Robert Cook said...

Or, what Madison Man said.

William said...

I'd be more comfortable with this if the OR staff knew that they were being taped. Past practice gave them an expectation of privacy in their conversations about the patient. Why is she the only one with rights in this setting?..........People acting under conditions of extreme stress can easily make the wrong decision. If we prosecute those who screw up to the full extent of the law and presume malicious intent, will we get more and better people to volunteer for such stressful jobs?

johns said...

A friend who is a urologist tells hilarious stories at dinner parties about crazy operations that he does, what he has to remove from penises etc. He also says that the nurses are very interested in seeing the junk the patients have and cracking wise about it (yes, pun intended). Now that I consider it, I would feel creeped out if I was under the knife in his operating room. but I have always considered it kind of a victimless crime.

Mary Beth said...

Now, I hope you have enough philosophy in your temperament, that when you find out your allergy concerns were dismissed by doctors who insulted you, and discussed inappropriately photographing and touching you, as well as mocking you, when you were unconscious and completely at their mercy--and to top it all off, you have to go back to the emergency room because you were, in fact, allergic to what they gave you and dismissed your concerns about--I hope you have enough philosophy in your temperament to react to the experience as you did when it happened to someone else.

4/8/16, 2:01 PM


You didn't hear the recording. All you have to go on is someone else's opinion of what they might have been talking about. I hope you're never judged on something someone else thinks you might have meant. Especially when you are prevented from commenting to defend yourself because of something like patient confidentiality but the person accusing you can say whatever they want.

And, yes, I think that if my only report of an allergy is that "When I was a baby, they said I swelled up" and no other problems for 40-something years, then I think I would think they made a rational choice. (Again - see previous link - it's recommended for people with penicillin allergies.)

Fritz said...

Lawyer's and Professor's offices need constant monitoring too, just in case their bad mouthing their clients and students when they're not around.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

Future such issues can be easily avoided by amendment to the Affraudable Care Act to mandate the presence of a Patient Ombudsperson in the operating room.

A qualified and credentialed Mediator should be on call for timely resolution of complaints which the Ombudsperson may raise about hospital staff behavior.

Insurance will pay for these, so there is really no added cost.

Darrell said...

About ten years ago, when cellphone cameras became ubiquitous, a major teaching hospital in the US was hit with a scandal. A student came forward to complain about other students exposing females that were sedated and taking pictures. Pretty ones got a cock in the side of their mouths. Women were subjected to gyn exams, even when they were there for other surgery. And students that weren't in that rotation participated. The school collected phones and cameras and waded through the pictures and promptly called their lawyers. There were charges that lawyers erased evidence--like the pics of this one nurse who collected rat figurines who would take pics with said rats in vaginas of patients that had given her lip. Stuff had been going on for years and everyone kept quiet. Unless programs were put in place, I suspect it's still happening.

Brando said...

I imagine the reason doctors don't want these things recorded isn't so much to enable them to insult the patient or let out steam as it is to allow them to discuss freely any surgical procedure and decisions without having to worry if extemporaneous discussion could lead to a lawsuit (e.g., "the doctor said he was considering doing a secondary procedure at that point, why did he decide not to do that?"). That in turn might reduce communication among staff as they would worry about what they have to say and if it is taken out of context.

CachorroQuente said...

There appears to be no legal requirement anywhere in the US that a man secure his wife's permission prior to a vasectomy. I am not a lawyer, but it would seem to be a pretty obvious privacy violation to require either permission or notification.

Smilin' Jack said...

All operating rooms should be equipped to video-record all operations from several angles. This would provide a valuable teaching tool as well as a defense against malpractice. As for doctors' "right to privacy", they're on the job, and it's well-established that everything you say and do on the job belongs to your employer (in this case, the patient and/or hospital.)

Birkel said...

Most likely to kill you?

Given the history of the 1900s I suspect Leftists elected or assuming power are most likely to kill you.

Also, people named Rachel Carson.

SeanF said...

Ann Althouse: "Give me an example of a potential use."

To influence doctors and nurses to treat your unconscious body with respect. To learn whether you are being insulted, whether there is an attentive, serious atmosphere as you undergo a procedure, and to get some sense of whether the personnel are working as an effective, knowledgable team.


How does an audio recording tell you if they're treating your body with respect?

Why does it matter if you're being insulted during the procedure, as opposed to afterwards?

Whether the personnel were working as an effective, knowledgable team will be apparent by the results of the procedure, won't it?

befinne said...

You are goddamn lucky to be unconscous during surgery. You think doctors who are slicing you open for your own benefit are going to talk about you as an equal? You're not.

Michael K said...

I think I commented on the previous post on this topic.

I have had multiple examples of patients telling me what was said in the OR and I always warned staff about talking about the patient. I have couple of stories of patients coming awake under anesthesia and feeling the pain in my book. The listening is not usually associated with pain and is pretty common in patients in coma. "Vigilant coma" it is called.

When I began to do laparoscopic surgery, initially gallbladders and then appendectomies and hernia repairs, I videotaped the surgery. It was easy to do since the entire operation is seen on TV by the surgeon. I kept the tapes for a month and then offered them to the patient. About half wanted them. One child took his video of his appendectomy to school to "share" and it created a bit of a commotion since this was in 1989 and very early in laparoscopy surgery.

I understand that hospital lawyers later advised against taping but think this was bad advice. The video is evidence that the surgeon did nothing wrong. Of course, if a mistake is on the video, it should be immediately corrected.

Videotaping the surgery from the exterior would probably not show much of the operation and would be very intrusive. I have had spouses want to watch the surgery and I always turned them down. A famous case at UCLA involved a rather weird heart surgeon who wanted to watch his wife's heart surgery from the dome viewing sites in the OR ceiling. When there was a problem with the surgery, he panicked and ran down and tried to take over. After that, families were not allowed there.

Robert Cook said...

"Most likely to kill you?

"Given the history of the 1900s I suspect Leftists elected or assuming power are most likely to kill you.

"Also, people named Rachel Carson."


Posting gibberish does not make any kind of point.

Robert Cook said...

"You are goddamn lucky to be unconscous during surgery. You think doctors who are slicing you open for your own benefit are going to talk about you as an equal? You're not."

Like hell, we're not. We're paying doctors a good sum of money to perform services for us--on us--and they should not talk about us in our presence--even if we're presumably unconscious--in any way other than professionally and as necessary to conduct the services they're being paid to perform. If they have any snide comments to make, they should do so in the privacy of their break rooms, far away from the patient and the operating theater.

FullMoon said...

Robert Cook said...

"Most likely to kill you?

"Given the history of the 1900s I suspect Leftists elected or assuming power are most likely to kill you.

"Also, people named Rachel Carson."


Posting gibberish does not make any kind of point.

As does not having a sense of humor. .

Michael K said...

"Posting gibberish does not make any kind of point."

Cookie think "Silent Spring" was non-fiction.

Zach said...

My point is the patient should have a right to make a recording....It seems to be part of a person's sovereignty over her body.

There is a fundamental distinction between *recording* a surgery and *bugging* a surgery. There is no need to allow bugging just to get a recording.

Even if it's a right, that right can be bargained away, right? It's not clear that a hospital would want to agree to surgeries being recorded -- too easy for an "Oops, my finger slipped" to turn into a lawsuit.

JRPtwo said...

I've had colonoscopies without anesthetics (not particularly painful, less drug risk, common in other countries) It was clear that the monitoring caused the doctor to treat my body with more respect. She shoved me around and then, remembering I was awake, apologized for the casual treatment. So I'm with Ann that the audio monitoring encourages a professional atmosphere.

SeanF said...

JRPtwo: I've had colonoscopies without anesthetics (not particularly painful, less drug risk, common in other countries) It was clear that the monitoring caused the doctor to treat my body with more respect. She shoved me around and then, remembering I was awake, apologized for the casual treatment. So I'm with Ann that the audio monitoring encourages a professional atmosphere.

So, you didn't see or feel her "shov[ing] you around", but you heard it?

JRPtwo said...

SeanF: The questions (and my answers):
1) Will an audio recording encourage the doctors to have a more attentive, serious conversation--as opposed to an insulting, crass or irreverent conversation? Yes.
2) Will that change in conversational tone and content tend to cause a more respectful or empathetic physical treatment? Yes.
3) Finally, will that lead to more successful procedures? Probably yes.
There is some evidence to suggest that empathy can get in the way of a dispassionate, technically demanding optimal treatment, but that good doctors can turn the empathy on and off to avoid the distraction.

My anecdote speaks to whether doctors are more respectful when they are monitored. Your point speaks to whether audio monitoring has any affect on physical treatment. I'd suggest the conversational respect and physical respect feed into each other.