Lauren posted yesterday on a disgusting story about an orthopedic surgeon who has been placing temporary tattoos on his patients during surgery. The shit hit the fan when this asshole placed a red rose tattoo under the panty line of a female patient, who didn’t discover the tattoo until her husband saw it. Lauren has more of the details and an excellent take, so please read her post.
I want to give you my take on this as a PhysioProf who works at a highly prestigious medical school and academic medical center:
As someone who spends a substantial portion of his professional time teaching medical students, I can tell you that this kind of attitude–that physicians are gods, not mere mortals, and wield power over other human beings that no one dare question–is inculcated in them from the very beginning of medical training. It is an ugly secret of our medical training system. And the more prestigious the institutions where physicians receive their training, the more overweening is this attitude.
Anything that a physician calls a “joke” or “for the patient’s benefit” simply is that, and how dare anyone question that judgment!
Surgeons are the worst, they cut people’s fucking asses open with sharp knives, and they are basically used to functioning as dictators in the operating room. These leads to the development of attitudes which makes perfect sense in light of the practical demands of surgery. But they do not work well in other areas of life. Put a surgeon in charge of any enterprise that requires leadership through persuasion or consensus, and you are totally fucking fucked.
Anyway, this is a long-winded way of stating that this incident doesn’t surprise me one fucking bit. From a legal standpoint, btw, it is clearly a battery, as these patients gave informed consent to a particular operation, and not to having temporary tattoos placed on their bodies while unconscious. It is battery in exactly the same way it would be battery if you put a temporary tattoo on the body of a stranger asleep at the beach. (Jill, who is boning up for bar exam, can probably weigh in with a better explanation of why this tattoing shit is battery.)