A recent article in the Annals of Internal Medicine covered a very controversial topic. Physician malpractice is typically associated with a physical injury, but what happens when a medical professional crosses the ethical line by berating a patient or uses derogatory language?
Horror stories of patients under anesthesia who hear their trusted doctors mock or sexually harass them are making headlines across the country. A recent case that made headlines involved a patient who recorded his own colonoscopy and inadvertently recorded his doctor making fun of his physical appearance and incorrectly documenting medical information on his charts.
While it may be difficult to catch the culprit in the act, there are red flags to watch out for. Pay attention to how your doctor and his/her staff treat you before and after a procedure, particularly one that involves anesthesia.
Verbal abuse as medical malpractice
Even in cases of coherent patients, medical professionals have been known to make comments that are inappropriate, condescending and emotionally traumatic. Crossing the ethical line even further are instances of derogatory racial comments or sexually explicit utterances. These are grounds for a medical malpractice claim. Having these events occur while you are sedated, essentially defenseless, is the ultimate abusive behavior.
If you feel you or a loved one has been treated by a physician in an ethically reprehensible manner, the individual must to be held accountable. As far as medical malpractice is concerned, verbal abuse is far less documented than physical injury; essentially allowing an abusive individual to continue his/her abusive behavior without any ramifications.