As someone who has been under anesthesia more than once, I have an opinion about the following story. And as someone who received a settlement from the people who put me in the hospital in the first place, I have another opinion.
Sitting in his surgical gown inside a large medical suite in Reston, Va., a Vienna man prepared for his colonoscopy by pressing record on his smartphone, to capture the instructions his doctor would give him after the procedure.
But as soon as he pressed play on his way home, he was shocked out of his anesthesia-induced stupor: He found that he had recorded the entire examination and that the surgical team had mocked and insulted him as soon as he drifted off to sleep…
“After five minutes of talking to you in pre-op,” the anesthesiologist told the sedated patient, “I wanted to punch you in the face and man you up a little bit,” she was recorded saying…
When the assistant noted that the man reported getting queasy when watching a needle placed in his arm, the anesthesiologist remarked on the recording, “Well, why are you looking then, retard?”
There was much more. So the man sued the two doctors and their practices for defamation and medical malpractice and, last week, after a three-day trial, a Fairfax County jury ordered the anesthesiologist and her practice to pay him $500,000.
Now. Okay, yes, those doctors were unprofessional. I don’t care how annoying this guy was; treating him like that is shameful. They deserve the hit to their reputations. What patient will go to a doctor who’s known to do stuff like this? The doctor-patient relationship is based on trust. How will anybody trust them again?
This guy got half a million dollars for his hurt feelings. Over something that nobody would even know about if he hadn’t sued. There’s no claim of physical injury. Yeah, these doctors were asses, but they also literally treated his ass. They did their job. They were stupid and rude, but they did their job. The damage to their reputations should be enough.
If your doctor is a dick to you, find another doctor.
And if your patient is a dick to you, don’t trash him when he’s under anesthesia. Or, if you do, make sure to turn off his phone first.