3 doctors, nurse face raps over rectal surgery scandal

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — THREE doctors and a nurse will be charged administratively while other medical staff and students of Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu will be “lightly” penalized over a controversial surgery scandal that took place on Jan. 3.

A report reaching Camp Crame said the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center made the recommendations following an internal investigation of the incident.

Hospital officials, however, did not issue the names of the doctors and nurses, but said other legal actions will be referred to the health department which supervises the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center.

The hospital released its findings and recommendations even as its head, Dr. Gerardo Aquino Jr., was summoned to Manila for the health department’s parallel investigation into the case.

Among the findings and recoomendations:
• Three doctors and a nurse will face administrative case for possible violation of conduct and ethical standards;
• A doctor and three nurse supervisors were sternly warned to be more cautious in the performance of their duties as supervisors;
• A clinical instructor alluded to by the staff who misbehaved has been banned from the hospital;
• The student allegedly responsible for uploading the video to video-sharing site YouTube should be endorsed to his or her school for disciplinary action; and
• SOPs of the operating room should be reviewed, revised and updated.

Last January’s surgery sparked controversy when a video clip showing doctors and nurses laughing and giggling while conducting the operation was posted on YouTube. The video has since been taken off the audio and video platform.

On the video, loud cheering and shouting can be heard during the operation. Someone then shouted “Baby out!” when the canister was removed from the patient’s rectum.

One of the medical staff even opened the perfume canister and started spraying its contents.

The incident also sparked condemnation from many medical groups.

The Philippine Medical Association said that if found violating their code of ethics, the doctors could be expelled from the association.

Aside from losing membership from the PMA, the doctors and nurses may either get suspended or have their licenses revoked, according to the Professional Regulations Commission.

Other organizations who voiced their condemnation of the act included the Commission on Human Rights, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Cebu City chapter and several groups.