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Thursday, January 31, 2008

DOCTOR IDIOT, MEET PATIENT IDIOT

I see this story as proof that even idiots can graduate medical school, specifically Dr. Adam Hansen, who was, until last December, the chief resident of general surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona. It seems that Doctor Idiot was performing gall bladder surgery on 37 year old Sean Dubowik, and as Doctor Idiot was about to insert a catheter he couldn’t help but notice that Sean had a rather bold tattoo on his penis; the words “Hot Rod”. The doctor was so entertained by this unusual physical adornment that he whipped out his cell phone – which was, presumably, sterilized – and snapped a quick photo. Post-op, in the locker room, Doc Hansen showed this photo to several of his colleges, presumably for their amusement and edification. It’s the same reason doctors keep X-rays of various objects found stuck in rectums and virginals. The only difference is that an X-ray of a bottle of Jack Daniels floating in a ‘pubic symphysis’ has no identifying details on it other than the bottler’s label, whereas there are so few tattooed penises in this world that even a low quality cell phone image of one of them could easily be traced back to its owner, and that is a clear violation of HIPPA
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One of the primary purposes of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 2004 is to make it an actual federal offense for anybody to release any information about any patient without their written consent. The Mayo Clinic boasts they have over 100 policies protecting a patient’s privacy. And according to HIPPA consent for the release of information to non-staff (i.e., the public) must be hand written, printed in block letters, and explicitly list the information to be released, and authorizing the spokesperson and/or physician by name, and any partners in their medical practice. These restrictions cover doctors, nurses, pharmacists, technicians, the clerk who prepares your bill and the accountant from your insurance company who rejects payment, as well as all of the office staff for those folks and all their assistants, the hospital housekeepers, cooks, crooks and bottle washers. Should you get caught violating a HIPPA privacy restriction you can find yourself talking to a Federal Prosecutor. And the Mayo Clinic claims they spend “… millions of dollars each year to comply with and exceed government requirements”.
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All of which made it a big deal when one of Doctor Idiot’s colleges dropped a dime on him and called The Arizona Republic newspaper and told them about the impromptu photo op. (Do you think it could have been a scrub nurse, or maybe a housekeeper?) And when the paper called the hospital to confirm the tip, the administration had a little talk with Doctor Idiot. And Doctor Idiot then called his tattooed patient, Mr. Dubowik, who shall henceforth be known as Patient Idiot.
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The term “idiot” as used here is not intended as a derogative definition but, like the term “genius”, as an adjective to describe a certain level of achievement. One man or woman can, at various times in their lives be either one or both. The first human to apply paint on purpose to a cave wall at Lascaux, France, 16,000 years ago, was a genius. And probably the very next day the very same genius probably tried use his new invention as a food additive, which may be why his or her name has been lost to history.
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Sean Dubowik is the owner and operator of the Centerfolds Cabaret and Sports Fever Bar at 2031 West Peoria Avenue in Phoenix. It is described as a “topless bar”, or a strip club, where for a $5.00 cover charge and an over priced beer you can enjoy nude and semi nude female dancers on stage, on your tabletop or “in private” (extras are always extra). The club also features a “full kitchen”, but last summer the board of health issued them 12 critical violations, so it is probably safe to assume nobody goes there for the fine cuisine. Sean says he acquired his tattooed penis to win a $1,000 bet, and because at the time he was drunk as hell. And that anecdote, plus his choice of business, probably tells you just about all you need to know about The Patient Idiot.
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When Doctor Idiot called Patient Idiot and confessed about the photo shoot I cannot believe that Patient Idiot was surprised. You have a tattoo on your tummy to draw attention to your abs. You get a heart imprinted on your chest to draw the eye to your tits. And a tattoo on your penis is almost self explanatory. So Patient Idiot might have been embarrassed but he could not have been surprised. And yet he claims to have felt “betrayed, violated and disgusted.” It sounds to me as if someone is laying the foundation for a lawsuit. But really, is a jury going to believe that a man who makes his living paying naked women to hitch their heels behind their ears for the entertainment of strangers, would be embarrassed by a grainy photo of his own flaccid penis? I don’t think so. But I do smell a mid five figure out of court settlement coming from the Doctor Idiot’s malpractice insurance company.
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There will be ramifications, so to speak. Doctor Idiot is no longer working at the Mayo Clinic, but it is not clear if he was fired, suspended or decided to go into photography. As Chic Older, from the Arizona Medical Association, put it, “HIPPA is not even the point. Many ethical boundaries were crossed. He just made a stupid error in judgment.” And the truth is that no one in Arizona has ever been charged with violating patient privacy under the HIPPA laws, and besides, such a “crime” would be a mere misdemeanor, a medical traffic ticket .
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In other words, Doctor Idiots do this kind of stupid thing a lot more often than the public is aware of. And the only reason this one made the papers is because of the presence of a tattooed penis. Which brings us back to the Patient Idiot…He had a tattoo needle used on his penis! What an idiot!
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2 comments:

  1. If you're going to write about idiot's, try not to look like one yourself... It's HIPAA... idiot.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Seriously? The odds that the doctor was actually the one inserting the catheter are slim to none so it is more likely that he just took the picture. If you knew anything about medicine at all, you would not have made that stupid comment about the cell phone being sterilized.

    ReplyDelete

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