Want a safer O.R? Shut the !@#& up!

Every so often, a wee media firestorm erupts over surprising issues. Consider surgeons, for example, who sing in the operating room. The latest eruption happened locally with the dismissal of an official complaint from a Canadian patient offended by his eye surgeon’s vocals in the O.R.

According to a report of the hearing published in The Vancouver Sun, the unnamed patient filed a complaint to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia after the eye surgery in May, 2011. The patient (awake for his entire procedure) could hear everything. He not only objected to his surgeon’s singing during the operation, but also the fact that he was casually chatting with others in the O.R. about, for example, his plans to take home the hospital’s linens “so he could wash his car with them.”   Continue reading

Why doctors say YES when they mean NO

San Francisco physician Dr. Rahul Parikh, writing in Salon recently, wondered out loud why some doctors have a hard time saying the word “NO!” to their patients. For example:

“I periodically get requests from parents to prescribe cough medicine for their child that contains codeine. Besides the codeine, the drug contains alcohol, naturally leading to a better night’s sleep for child and, hence, the exhausted parent.

“But there’s no evidence that this cough medicine helps the child get better any faster, and it may even be dangerous.

“Should I prescribe it or not? The evidence says no, but to say that can lead to a confrontation with an angry parent.”   Continue reading