Two doctors were suspended from a Pennsylvania hospital after witnesses reported employees were taking photos and videos of a patient’s genitalia injury at the operating table, an investigation reveals.
The patient arrived at the facility’s emergency room December 23 for a genital injury that required surgery to remove a “foreign body”, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s report of the incident.
The Health Department launched an investigation in May after a staff member in January reported the photos had been circuiting among other hospital staff members.
WJAC reported UPMC said in a statement: “Upon discovery, UPMC quickly self-reported the incident to the Pennsylvania Department of Health and took appropriate disciplinary action with the individuals involved”.
An employee soon came forward to complain about the incident which prompted an internal investigation. Apparently, the staff were in the room to snap photos and gawk at the genitals of a patient at the UPMC Bedford Memorial Hospital in Everett, Pennsylvania.
PennLive reported that a doctor told an employee to take a photo with the operating room camera for future lectures.
In a statement, Patt Keith of UMPC Media Relations said they notified the affected patient and have made administrative changes to prevent similar behavior.
The Department of Health has endorsed our arrangement of redress. The employees said that personal phones were used even after they found that the hospital camera was indeed functional.
“Initially, we thought there was only one picture taken, but later we learned of others”. The camera that was claimed to have been broken was working, according to the Health Department, but was too complicated to use.
The report did not mention any fines against the hospital or UPMC.
Disciplining an unspecified number of staff members, with records placed in their files.
A hospital medical executive committee also conducted an investigation into the incident. One, an attending physician, was given a “letter of guidance” with the physician’s hospital privileges suspended for seven days. Both doctors also underwent training on medical ethics and patient privacy.
Allowing people not involved in the patient’s care into the operating room.