This has been the banner headlines in most local and national newspapers, 4 weeks in the running. The issue is about an incident that occured in one of the operating rooms at Vicente Sotto Memorial Hospital in Cebu City. This happened in January 3, 2008 yet which would not have made news and blown to scandalous proportion had not some idiot who took a video clip on the proceedings uploaded it to the video sharing website YouTube. Naturally, the patient, a 39 year-old gay, felt shame upon learning that his privacy was breach without his permission.
The patient underwent that kind of medical procedure when a perfume canister was forced into his anus by his lover during a one night stand. The operation was performed accordingly and was a success. But the events surrounding the medical procedure was the bone of contention here. During the operation, other people not directly involved were permitted into the room; some with digital cameras to record the proceedings. They were laughing boisterously and poking fun with one another, actions which were apparently improper and inappropriate. Being a training hospital the presence of some resident doctors and nurses would have been justified to observe but not to turn the occasion into a circus. There is such a thing as professional conduct and code of ethics by medical practioners but having disregarded such rules by those people involved is beyond me. Every human being have the basic right to privacy and on that particular operation that right to privacy was breached on the gay patient.
As of this writing, investigations are being conducted to identify those directly involved. Dr. Emmanuel Gines, VSMMC media liaison officer and chief of the surgery department had apologized to the patient. "The behavior of the doctors and nurses was really improper and it has put the hospital in a bad light," he said. A Dr. Wyben Briones, a neuro-surgeon for 30 years and connected with the hospital said that doctors are bound by their profession to respect the patient's privacy at all times. He said that "For us that (privacy) is sacred. No doctor or nurse shall announce that somebody is suffering from an illness or that somebody is positive of Aids (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome)." He added that it is really objectionable for somebody to take videos of an operation and upload it to YouTube for all the world to see. What is acceptable, he said, is for a doctor operating on a patient to allow young doctors and nurses to witness, as long as the aim is to educate them further.
However, the patient is determined to pursue his case in court to seek redress and legal remedy. Hospital authorities up to the Department of Health (DOH) promised no whitewash. The case has likewise been elevated to the office of the Professional Regulation Commission and the Office of the Umbudsman Visayas. Surely these doctors will be stripped of their licensed and banned from medical practice.