On one level, the article illustrates yet again that conversations that would have been routinely tolerated or ignored in the past are now subject to debate, criticism and possibly consequences.
The article focuses on the effect of such conversations on patients and on younger doctors.
Are such conversations appropriate, even when the patient is sedated?
As to younger doctors and students, are they negatively affected by such ‘inappropriate’ conversations?
As to the first question, if no harm is done, the procedure is completed and the patient was sedated, it is easy to conclude that no discussion is necessary. On the other hand, perhaps sedated patients are entitled to a certain level of dignity, however subjective that may be.
As to the second question, given the conditions and demands of the profession, gallows humor is undoubtedly a safety valve that benefits patients and rising practitioners.
Further, the ‘protection’ from hurtful words that some feel the younger generation needs and is entitled to frustrate more than just doctors.
For medical professionals, if this discussion is taking place in medical journals and The New York Times, it is likely that medical staffs and medical boards are also taking an interest in this subject.
The problem with this behavior is that reactions to it are very subjective, people ‘know it when they see it or hear it’. It may be harmless and cathartic gallows humor to one person but inappropriate and haunting to others.
Hopefully, common sense and good judgment prevails, for both the maker of any such statements and the people who hear or are tasked to pass judgment on them.
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