I worked in a very busy plastic surgeon’s office where the typical day involved minor procedures under general anesthesia.
It was a “never a dull moment” job for sure because we all know that anything can happen during surgery.
And it did! This Doctor appeared likely to suffer from severe anxiety or bipolar and everyone who worked in the office knew it.
Although, none of us were qualified to diagnose him but he definitely had the signs and symptoms.
One day, we were doing a minor procedure on a patient under general anesthesia, a 10 year old African American girl to remove a mole from the side of her neck.
During the procedure, she had been under the anesthesia and the Doctor was not happy about the way her head was positioned. (There was an assistant holding her head in place which was customary).
He got very mad and snatched her head away from the assistant just a second before he was to make the first cut.
While he was positioning her head to his satisfaction, he lost control and her head fell forward uncontrollably and she literally fell on the scalpel puncturing her in the face!
The reason this happened is because the Doctor had the scalpel in his had while he was adjusting the patient’s head.
He should have put it down obviously but as I had said earlier, it was known by the staff that he was quick to anger and likely bipolar.
He was horrified when this happened and immediately had to stitch the puncture that was on her face.
Now remember that African Americans frequently do not heal well and most of the time, have a great deal of scar tissue that is permanent.
As I am watching this unfold I wondered what was he going to tell this little girl’s mother? I could not stop thinking about this innocent young girl having to spend the rest of her life with a scar on her cheek. (4 stitches).
The surgery was completed and the girl was taken to recovery and her mother was called back.
Most of the staff was busy cleaning and preparing the room for the next patient.
However, I happened to walk past recovery when I heard the Doctor tell the patient’s mother . . . that her daughter sneezed during the surgery and “fell” on the scalpel!!
I was stunned speechless and in shock
The problem for not only nurses but health care workers on all levels is what do we do about this?
Do we as health care workers and nurses report him? He flat out lied to this girl and her mother!
Although none of the staff said anything to the girl’s mother, I had to wonder was the right thing done?
We nurses and healthcare workers are required by law (in my state) to report child and elder abuse.
Isn’t this a form of child abuse? It is funny that the doctor did the exact same thing to an older male patient a few months later.
The exact same thing, and he told the patient the exact same lie . . . “He sneezed and fell on the scalpel!!
This is certainly one aspect of nursing that I do not want to take part in but who is going to protect the patient?
I had to recite in our capping ceremony a line that I never forgot . . . “To aid the physician and his work!”