Bioethics Blogs

Is Being Nice Part of Being Ethical as a Healthcare Provider?

Being on the other side of the healthcare equation is always
  That is, last week I was a
patient at our institution having major, elective, abdominal surgery.  Most of the care I received was kind and
humane, but when it was not the negative effects were not small.
  Before I “go negative” I would like to say
that every nurse I encountered treated me with respect and empathy, and most
did not know I was an attending physician.


But now to the negative. 
An attending anesthesiologist came into my pre-operative cubicle to
interview me prior to the surgery.  She
started speaking very softly, and she asked me a question that I could not understand.  I told her I was hearing impaired, and that I
needed her to speak up a bit, and she responded with a snort of derision.  I was shocked, and I looked over at my wife
who seemed to have read the situation the same way.  She then proceeded to speak too loudly for
the rest of the interview, and then stood there silently for several minutes
filling out paperwork before just turning and walking out.  “Can you request another anesthesiologist,”
my wife asked.
  “Do you think you can
trust her to take care of you while you’re asleep?’  I had no answer to these questions, and while
it follows logically that her rude behavior does not directly impugn her
clinical skills, she sowed a seed of doubt in my mind that even Versed (the
pre-operative sedative given to patients) did not completely overcome.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.