Patients often trust doctors and nurses deeply, and sometimes they leave their lives in the hands of healthcare professionals. However, in this first part of two, we detail these five cases where they broke that sacred trust.

1. GP told his patient to die

Arun Singhal is a general physician practicing at Liverpool, England. Back in the May of 2011, a woman on antidepressants sought to consult him; she was looking for a doctor to certify that she was unfit to stand as a witness for a rape case where she was a witness. She also admitted to having suicidal thoughts due to her medications not working as expected.

One would then think that Singhal would treat her in a professional manner – unfortunately, that was not the case. Instead, he told her that she was “disgrace”, and told her to “jolly well do it (kill herself) now,” and even told her that she could seek the internet on advice on how to kill herself.

Unbeknownst to Singhal, his conversation was being recorded and a complaint was filed later. The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) later found him to be guilty of serious misconduct, and “… finds his conduct (to have) fell well below the standards expected of a medical practitioner,” and was slapped with a three-month suspension.

2. Patients given abortifacient against their will in sub-Saharan Africa

The incidents involved various instances of HIV-positive females being subjected to forced abortion due to the erroneous thought that “pregnancy ought to be prevented at all cost[s] in HIV-infected women,” which has led many healthcare providers in Kenya to instil fear and misinformation in their patients about the risk of transmission.

One woman in Namibia reported she was prescribed abortifacients against her will just because “her nurse did not think she should be pregnant.” The identity of the victim and the perpetrators are sealed by the ICW.

3. Forced rectal exam in emergency room

Brian Persaud was a construction worker that had sustained a head injury while on the job, and was taken to the ER at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. While he was given eight stitches to the affected area. In addition, the hospital performed an additional procedure - a rectal exam - for which he violently objected to.

He was held down as he begged, “Please don’t do that.” Thereafter, he managed to free one of his hands and struck a doctor. That resulted in doctors sedating him; he woke up handcuffed to a bed and spent three days in a detention center.

“Psychologically, it changed his life completely,” Mr Marrone, Mr Persaud’s lawyer, said.

“He hasn’t been able to work. He has absolutely no trust in the system at all: doctors or the police. He has post-traumatic stress syndrome.”

Dr. Irving Friedman, a neurologist and psychiatrist hired by Persaud’s lawyers, wrote, “Although a rectal exam is part of the routine E.R. evaluation, this patient clearly refused. He did not have any signs of abdominal trauma. A reasonable analysis of his situation could have been obtained without checking for ‘rectal tone’”, and concluded that Persaud “has been left with extreme anxiety, agitation and depression due to the events at the emergency room.”

4. Molestation while sedated

Michael T. Clarke is a doctor at St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Centre in Syracuse, New York. While operating, he reported that he often felt “delighted” when he heard the sharp thwack of his palm slapping against the butt cheeks of his unconscious patients in the operating theatre. When pressed for questioning, he passed it off as a method of gauging the effectiveness of spinal anaesthetics on the patients.

His coworkers begged to differ; they described that while he was slapping the butt cheeks, he would often sputter sexually explicit insults along with the action. Notwithstanding, he was also known for passing inappropriate comments at hospitals staff.

He was suspended after investigations found he was guilty, and was required to perform undisclosed steps for reinstatement. After being suspended for eight months, he was allowed to operate once again.

5. Elderly abuse in several healthcare facilities

In two other separate cases, an employee of UK-based Kirknowe Care Home was found to have fed dog food to dementia patients as a “joke”. At Williston Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Florida, what Tracie Nellis did could be counted as despicable - she fed hot sauce into the mouths of two sleeping dementia patients.

Separately, six employees, aged 23 to 51, at the Valley View Skilled Nursing Facility were discovered to have covered seven dementia patients with ointment all over their bodies. This was done as a prank for the next shift of employees, in addition to their thoughts of it being “hilarious”. Luckily for these patients, these perpetrators were arrested. MIMS

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