If You Recognize Yourself in this Article, Take Action!

Dear friends,

The following article is about the consequences of making inappropriate
statements about patients. Feel free to share this information. If you
decide to use this material, please include our copyright designation that
is shown at the end of the article and send us a copy of any publication in
which the material appears.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with comments, questions, or requests
for additional information.


Elizabeth E. Hogue, Esq.

Office: (877) 871-4062

Fax: (877) 871-9739

Twitter: @HogueHomecare


If You Recognize Yourself in this Article, Take Action!

In 2015, we wrote about an article by Tom Jackman that appeared in the June
23, 2015, edition of The Washington Post, which was about a patient who made
some surprising discoveries on the way home from a colonoscopy when he
listened to a recording that he had accidentally made during the procedure.
The patient was horrified to hear the surgical team mock and insult him
while he was anesthetized. Among other things, the anesthesiologist
referred to the patient as a "retard" and said that she wanted to punch him
in the face while talking to him in pre-op. The physician performing the
procedure openly instructed an assistant to lie about his availability after
the procedure, including "misleading and avoiding" the man after he woke up.

We subsequently tweeted about a Texas hospice owner who sent employees a
text that said, "You need to make this patient go bye-bye." Giving the
owner every benefit of the doubt and allowing for misunderstandings that may
arise from text messages, it seems impossible to justify this conduct.
Well. (as George Will of the The Washington Post says) Here we go again!

ABC news reported on April 7, 2016, that a patient in Texas hid a recording
device in her hair so that she could record the staff's conversation during
her surgery. Again, big surprises! The staff in the operating room openly
made fun of her, especially her belly button. They also repeatedly referred
to her as "Precious," which the patient understood to be a derogatory
reference to a character in a recent movie.

As we acknowledged in our earlier article, there is no doubt that patients
can sometimes be exasperating and infuriating.and that may be putting it
charitably! As professionals, however, it is important to recognize that
the kind of "talk" that went on in these instances is completely
unacceptable. It's up to professionals to deal with frustrations in other,
more appropriate ways. Even venting to colleagues by making derogatory
statements about patients is inappropriate.

When almost everyone has a cell phone that is capable of recording audio and
video, we must conclude that it is likely that someone is listening to every
word we say and watching every move we make. The only way to be sure that
no one is recording inappropriate conduct is simply to not engage in it.

The consequences of the above conduct may be severe. The jury awarded the
man who accidentally recorded the conversation during his colonoscopy
$500,000. Licensed professionals involved in any of the above cases may
face disciplinary action, including loss of licensure. If the owner of the
hospice or anyone else took action to make the patient "go bye-bye," they
may also face criminal prosecution.

SO, if you recognize yourself, take action. Get help of a professional
nature, if necessary. If you continue to make inappropriate statements
about patients, then perhaps it is time for you to do something else for a
living. This is serious!

C2016 Elizabeth E. Hogue, Esq. All rights reserved.

No portion of this material may be reproduced in any form without the
advance written permission of the author.
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