Saturday, April 19, 2008

Cebu Operating Room Scandal

Disclaimer: This video is not the property of this blog's owner and the video is hosted externally.

Before anyone reacts I wanted to share this video for the sake of discussion and as a reference. If you are not open minded and is not willing to accept the thoughts and opinions of other people then please do not continue to read this post if you will only flame me in the end. If you want to know my opinion on this matter please read on.

To those who have no idea what this video is about this is a video taken from a camera of a student nurse at an operating room at Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) at Cebu City, Philippines.

This video (that was spread on the internet like wild fire on Youtube, emails, and even cellphones) was of a 30 year old homosexual who had an Avon's Black Suede For Men Body Spray (thus the name Black Suede Scandal) allegedly inserted into his rectum when he had sex with a stranger.

What made the video so scandalous and caused such a sensation is when the doctors, nurses, and other operating room staff laughed and jeered at the patient's condition as seen in the video.

But here are are some of my reaction upon some comments of people online regarding the said topic:
  • On Medical Malpractice - As defined by Larry Curtis Law Firm is a form of negligence where an injury results from a medical professional’s or medical facility’s failure to exercise adequate care, skill or diligence in performing a duty. We should actually congratulate the doctors for a successful operation. No invasive procedures were done on such an extraordinary case. The operation was a success and there are no complications.
  • On Breach of Sterility - The people seen in the video were curious staff from other operating rooms within the operating room complex therefore they are considered sterile. They did not come from outside the operating room. And the people with no gloves were at least 12 inches away from the operating table so as stated by the sterile technique the operation is still considered sterile. Besides the people with out gloves did not perform the operation.
  • On Cameras in the Operating Room - Actually in my case, cameras are allowed inside the operating room and we student nurses are indeed allowed to take pictures for the sake of documentation which would be used for future case studies.
  • On Breach of Patient Confidentiality - When I reviewed the video footage the patient's identity was not at all exposed. The patient's face was not seen and no distinguishing body marks such as tattoos and birth marks were not captured on film. We wouldn't even know the sex and age of the patient if he hadn't exposed himself to media saying that he was a Florist, he was 30 year old, and he even divulged how that can arrived at his rectum. And yes his consent was asked and he did agree to have the operation filmed because as I reiterate this is a very unusual operation. So the video taking had the patient's consent.
  • On the Revocation of the Doctor's Licenses - I think that the people are overly reacting just like the way Filipinos over-reacted to Teri Hatcher's "some doctor from the Philippines" comment. It's not like the doctors killed someone or anything, I agree that sanctions may be imposed on their behavior but revoking their titles for laughing and cheering is way too harsh.
  • On the Operating Room Staff's Cheering & Laughing - To be fair to the patient, I would also be furious if I were in his position if I knew that a video of me was circulating on the internet but then I would realize that no one would know that it was me. It's also normal for people to be curious and have fun and joke around. In fairness the doctors and nurses were laughing at the situation not at the patient, that is a totally different context. It would be a normal reaction of a normal person to an extraordinary situation. No person was hurt, just a pride that was bruised. But now that we mention it isn't it the patient's fault that he was in this predicament because he had a one night stand with a complete stranger. He was lucky that he wasn't killed by his promiscuity. But that is a totally different issue and that is not my problem. The issue that I am concerned of is the outcome of the health care professionals who are being crucified for an issue that is overly exaggerated.
This issue had circulated and has been talked well enough and I think that this should already be wrapped up and more important issues were tackled like the improvement of the health care system in the Philippines and the improvement of nurse's wages and patient to nurse ratios.

I know that this post would gather a lot of negative reactions but let me again reiterate the blog's disclosure policy: The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely my own, as this is a personal blog.

Sun Star - Doctors may lose licenses over surgery scandal
Inquirer - Video scandal grips Cebu hospital
Inquirer - Black Suede scandal


  1. Did you know the meaning of respect and privacy? Did you know the meaning of respect of privacy? Think first the impacts of what you'll do before doing it. Is disclosing the video to public would help in what you refer as "took video that can be used for further studies"? Are you comforatble now that you have just destroyed the reputation and self-respect of the patient?

  2. Yes I do know what respect and privacy means and judging the window the privacy of the patient was protected since the patient remained anonymous. The whole Philippines only realized who the patient is when he talked about himself with the media.

    No face equals privacy and he remains anonymous, understand? Just like what you are doing now, I don't see your face and I don't know if you're a girl or boy or if you're young or old. That protects your privacy. I do not know who you are. I'll only know who you are if you describe yourself in another blog and talk about this blog. Then I'll sure get a clue who you are then. Understand the concept of no face = no name = no identity = anonymous?

    And for the patient he already lost his self respect when he decided to engage in unsafe sex practices. He should have just let the video pass and the world would forget about it. But what he did, going to the media, is like throwing gasoline into a burning fire thus prolonging the issue and making it into a bigger scandal than it already is. Understand the analogy Mr. Anonymous?

    What you said maid me think... yes showing the video does educate people. In what way? To never go into promiscuous acts such as having sex with strangers. If you don't want that to happen to you or worst robbed and killed then do not engage in one night stands. Doesn't that thought even occurred to Filipinos?

  3. I was very happy when I watched the news in TFC last night because as I can see everything works perfectly for the implementation of sanction to the irresponsible and unprofessional doctors and the uneducated nurse who took the video. I said uneducated because in the first place, did he/she knew that cellular phones are prohibited in operating rooms? Were he/she not able to learn that in school or maybe he/she did not use his/her common sense? Secondly, if a person (the patient specifically) is in pain (let say, the person is between life and death), would it be the proper time to tell or ask consent to take a video of his operation to be used for future studies? Would you be sure that the patient would have answered you correctly or would the patient understood well your question?...I think not!!! By that time, the patient's way of thinking might probably not good since what matters most to him is for the operation to be successful. Thirdly, only those who have official business must be present in O.R.. So how come that those others with nothing to do in their life are there? You have not to focus the issue on what the patient had done, you have to focus on the professional malpractice of those doctors and nurses. I do hope that voiding the license of those people involved especially the nurse who took the video and exposed it to the whole world can be and must also be considered so that those unethical and abusive medical practisioners will change the way they treat their patients. But nice try on giving your insights. maybe next time you'll have a better luck. I am still the Mr. Anonymous.

  4. Hello Mr. Anonymous! ^_^ I'm glad that you hoped back into my blog. I see that you are full of convictions and that you have a very firm standing. I commend you for that. We all have our own opinions and belief. And i respect your opinions.

    But for the sake of discussion here are some of my rebuttal to what you have said.

    1. I don't believe that the patient was in a life and death situation because he did wait for the holidays to be over before disclosing to his parents what happened to him so I bet that he was awake and coherent when his consent was asked. The surgery performed was not completely an emergency operation.
    2. About the cellphone issue, even in government tertiary hospitals (where I have went for duty at their operating rooms) there were no strict guidelines about cameras and cellphones because as long as there is consent from the patient you're free to shoot at will. But I guess there were be some changes in the rules now.
    3. For those who went into the operating room to observe, I think they have good reasons to observe. Even in hospitals in the United States, the operating room is called an "operating theater" because doctors/nurses are free to observe any operation that they please because this will increase their knowledge. The only difference between the US and the Philippines is that the Philippine setting does not have a room where the doctors/nurses can stay to observe so naturally they would be in the operating room to observe and appreciate such an extraordinary procedure. It's not always that you see a foreign object shoved into one's rectum.

    Again with the license revocation. Although suspension is ok revocation is too much. The doctors were very skilled and instead of cutting the patient open for a routine extraction they simply pulled it out the way it came in with out any serious tissue damage to the rectum.

  5. Yeah it's really not easy to revoke the license especially if he's a very good doctor but with the attitude they had in the video (with mixed of laughing and teasing), I think even I pity them, I am more on the side of the patient. While watching the video, with the way those audience reacted while watching the patient being operated, I don't think they are observing. What came into my mind was that they are very happy teasing and laughing the patient. Yeah, you're correct that observing an extraordinary procedure is just ok but is it the right place and the proper time to tease and laugh? And did you know that cellular phone has radiation that could possibly affect the machines being used in the operating room. Maybe I am too rude for thinking the voiding of their licenses as a sanction, but for me, imposing heavy penalties is more effective in implementing laws. Since you started using US, in the US, drivers were very disciplined while on the road because the fine is too much when they violate rules. The traffic rules are being followed strictly by the drivers because they are afraid to pay high fines. Hope you got my point there. Well, I am not that bad person as you think but just for the sake of obeying and respecting the rules properly going forward. Those countries that are implementing heavy penalties are most likely more orderly and progressive. Let say those doctors and nurses involved in the scandal may be those to be sacrificed. That this scandal might serve as a moral to those others doing not good in their field of expertise. With regards to the "between life and death situation", I just had it exaggerated. My point was that, when the a person is in great danger, his mind is not focused, what in his mind probably is how he can keep his life out of danger. So I think, the patient may not be aware of his answer that time. If he's aware of giving consent then what's the sense of him filing a case against those people? Is it that ironic?

  6. I hate it when your making sense hahaha! I agree heavy sanctions should be given to every profession even the non-professional blue collared workers like the jeepney drivers. But the problem with the government in the Philippines is that they don't implement their own rules properly. The government only acts when the media glamorize the story since the government wants to be seen as good.

    But I bet that if that patient didn't report to the media this incident, his case would just be disregarded.

    But if we look at the story at a different angle both parties (OR staff & patient) are at faults. And instead suing the OR staff why don't the patient sue the one who did that to him in the first place? Oh yeah, it was a one night stand so the person who pushed that can where the sun don't shine will never be persecuted and will never be known.

    Reminds me of another case where a patient's significant other sued the hospital for the death of her husband (the husband was stabbed by the way by another person). Instead of channeling the arm of justice to the criminal the poor hospital is sued. And to think it was the wife's decision to transfer her husband to a public hospital because it's cheaper. The hospital one of course because they had a consent form.

    But yeah I pity the OR staff. Even if they are excellent surgeons and if they had saved so many lives and can still save many lives, their license will be revoked for laughing at a patient. We all are humans after all. I bet that anyone would be curious and be over-excited over such an extraordinary and amazing situation.

  7. Thanks for the compliment. Honestly, I felt very bad when I read your initial message because you had been so biased, you just lighten up the side of the OR staff. So when I read it, I thought that you were the one involved in the scandal. The first time I watched the video on TV, I pity the patient because he's helpless there and people were laughing at him. Yeah, I do understand how the people reacted, laughing and teasing is good but we have to do it at the right place and at the right time. Since you already not biased on your last message then I think, there is no place for arguments now. Just have in mind that when giving opinions, always see both sides and in all angle. I do understand you since you're a nurse.

  8. Hahaha! I wouldn't be caught dead in that OR that specific day and nope I'm not affiliated to that Cebu hospital.

    Well point taken. Maybe I did take the side of the OR staff because the penalties were just too much for a mistake that could be linked to being human: being too curious.

    But I guess that the OR staff had a very tiring day and that situation opened an opportunity for them to break loose. But yeah, as I said, if I were the patient and if I was awake during that operation I would be very hurt too.

  9. Privacy my ass!! if you were murdered and I'm the only witness and took video of you and killer. I will not show it cause of some privacy and respect!!

    One more thing are you also telling that the ( AVON) should put some warning : Warning don't put this in your Ass!!


  10. To mans g:
    Your comment is uhm... how can I put this in a nice way... well let's just say, please use some common sense.

  11. well, since that issue died a year ago, and i do know that there is no point in bringing this up again, but i do hope you'll understand, that i feel the need to express what i know.....

    both sides are right but neither of them are correct... in the sense that there wont be any fire if none had started it.....

    i do not condemn either parties, but i do wish to pint out something else with which either of you two failed to discuss.....

    there wont be any surgical procedure if the said patient did not engage in sex, there wont be any scandalous activity if the surgeons and the scrubs did not ridicule the misfortune of the patient and the issue would hae just died if the said patient remained in the dark.....

    i know it may seem pointless to discuss what has passed, but for the sake of future case study..... make this incident as a landmark for change.

    thank you and God bless....

    i was the anesthesiologist...