Saturday, December 31, 2011

An Angry Surgeon Publishes In The Wall Street Journal

"Get this thing out of my operating room!" The colon stapling device exploded into pieces when I hurled it against the operating room wall.

When I read those lines at the beginning of Dr. Paul Ruggieri's book excerpt in the Wall Street Journal, my first thought was, who is this raving lunatic operating in this unfortunate O.R.? When I previously wrote about out of control surgeons, it was done anonymously to protect the reputations of the surgeon and the hospital we were in. Now here is a guy who is so full of himself that he doesn't mind putting his name down in a national newspaper describing what a piece of work he really is. This kind of juvenile hysterics would get a disciplinary action from our hospital. I wonder how dismayed his hospital administrators must feel when they read about how the doctors who work at their facility don't know how to control their own tantrums.

I grabbed the scrub nurse's hand. "See, touch that thing.  Look how inflamed it is." When given the chance, scrub nurses love to touch organs in the operating room.

I don't know about Dr. Ruggieri's hospital, but around here nobody better be grabbing the scrub nurse's hands. They may feign fascination with the anatomy of the patient but they are too busy getting the next piece of equipment ready for the surgeon to use, before he throws another tantrum and shatters it against the wall.

Is it all a ploy to sell more books? After all, publicity is always good, even if it is bad publicity. But how would his patients feel now that they know he blames the patients and their diseases for his difficult cases and bad outcomes?

If the difficulties posed by Mr. Baker's obesity weren't enough, he had been steadily losing blood during the procedure.

Dr. Ruggieri readily admits that the hemorrhaging in the case is caused by nobody but himself. But he goes on to blame the patient's obesity and bowel disease for his inability to gain control of the situation. All the while he is mentally calculating how much money he will make for this difficult operation and ruing the day he didn't get an MBA or become a plumber. Meanwhile the anesthesiologist is busy behind the ether screen trying to pump in blood so the patient doesn't die on the O.R. table. Is there a word of acknowledgement for the O.R. staff who are busy helping this surgeon finish his case successfully so that the patient will live to see another day? Of course not. He is too busy racing home in his new Porsche. Embarrassing. And pathetic.

1 comment:

  1. I had a patient this week that really screwed up his medical care when he experienced a predicted side effect of curative chemotherapy. Despite clear instructions and access to every number my partners, my staff and I have, including office, triage, cell, and answering service, he did not reach out. Day-by-day he lay in bed, as he grew weaker and multiple systems failed. No one contacted me. Finally, he sent an email to a doctor 3000 miles away, in California. That doc forwarded the email to me. I sent the patient to the hospital.