Sunday, March 13, 2011

Major Ethical Breach at Bronx Trauma Center

Not to diminish the magnitude of the tragic bus accident that occurred in New York yesterday, but as a surgeon, I am compelled to mention the almost astonishing ethical and privacy violation committed by an unnamed surgeon at a Bronx trauma center.

According to a New York Times article published on March 13, 2011, the following took place:

“The wife of a Jacobi Medical Center surgeon said her husband called her from work and described a passenger with a crushed skull and others with hand and arm amputations. She showed an iPhone photo, texted from Jacobi, of a hand and forearm, severed just below the elbow, lying on an operating table.”

I have many concerns here.

One, why would you call your wife to discuss a victim’s injuries?
Two, why would you text a photo of a severed extremity to you wife?
Three, did the victim sign consent for photographs and did he agree to let the surgeon disseminate information about his condition to the wife or the New York Times?
Four, why would the wife discuss this case with a New York Times reporter and show him the picture?

In the next few days, I expect that heads will roll on this, and rightfully so.


Anonymous said...

Just came across your blog. Agree w/ your response. Surgeon stupid. Wife very stupid. Who talks to reporters when your husband does such a dumb thing?! He's definitely in trouble. By the way, very offended by your post re: PCP's. I'm one. I see lots of interesting things, and I go in hospitals too, and I know what I'm doing and enjoy it. It is not boring. Thanks.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Thanks for the comment. Regarding the post on PCPs, I received a few similar responses when it was posted on KevinMD. I exaggerated in an attempt to be provocative and funny. One person who commented said I should have warned that it was satire. It's kind of like telling a joke. If you have to explain it, it doesn't work.

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