The doctors, nurses and staff of Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center perhaps thought that the joke was on their patient who sought their professional medical expertise to remove a can of cologne spray that got into his bottom.
By taking photos and videos — unauthorized personnel allowed inside the operating room who cheered them on — the doctors and nurses thought that the patient will be the newest star and they would be starmakers! They thought they would be able to jumpstart the patient’s career as the newest internet star.
But the joke was really on the VSMMC staff. SunStar Cebu also says the same in an editorial.
I expect each of these doctors and nurses will have their professional licenses suspended or revoked. All of them committed a grave offense against their patient who gave them full trust and confidence. Not one of them opposed the shameful taking of photos and videos. Up to now, not even one of them has admitted to committing wrongdoing. How unethical and unprofessional!
The “rectal surgery scandal” is a good occasion to take a look at the Code of Ethics of the Philippine Medical Association, portions of which are quoted below:
In the pursuit of his profession, the physician’s primary objective is the best interest of the patient, respecting human dignity regardless of stage of development, socio-economic status, religion, gender, political beliefs, racial background or other circumstances.
The physician’s principal responsibility is the patient’s welfare, both insofar as the state of his health is concerned, as well as his status as a human being deserving dignity and respect.
The physician is obliged to respect the confidentiality of all information he acquires on the basis of his professional capacity, and shall not divulge this information to third parties, unless there is a law, a court order, or a waiver from the patient or when the common good so requires. Such obligation extends even after the death of the patient.
The physician should be cognizant that because of his status, he is viewed as a leader and therefore, obliged to live up to this special role by the example he sets and the image he projects, and his participation in the community.
The physician should exercise high ethical standards in the manner in which he makes his services known and always maintain the decorum proper to his status as a physician.
Secretary Francisco Duque III must ensure heads roll.
The hospital may also be liable. The administrator of VSMMC must be made to explain who allowed unauthorized personnel to get inside the operating room. Is it the VSMMC policy to openly talk about any of their patient’s conditions and perhaps agree to make surgeries a spectacle to be photographed and filmed?
I suggest that VSMMC publish the names and photos of all those involved. The public must be warned about them. This is not about prejudgment. We must be able to stay away from such kinds of doctors and staff.
It is also fair to expect the PMA, the Philippine Nurses Association and the hospitals’ association to look into the unprofessional and unethical conduct of all those concerned. They must teach them lessons and show to the nation that they value the dignity of their patients and their own professions.
The Commission on Higher Education has chimed in, with a regional director quoted as saying:
The behavior shown in the video is not acceptable. It is not within the realm of human reason.
And the world is watching too. Thousands have viewed the videos before they were taken down; foreign news agencies and overseas newspapers have reported it. The VSMMC episode is definitely not good for the reputation of Filipino medical professionals.
What the authorities will be able to do in this case will not only give justice to the offended patient.
It will also redeem the medical, nursing and other allied medical professions from the terrible VSMMC jokers who obviously don’t deserve the titles and licenses they now possess.