YEP- That Pretty Much Sums it Up…
Over the past few months, putting this survey together and constantly poking and prodding on social media to suggest participation- had certainly made me think whether or not “it was over the top” or “overly sensitive”- or a “grow a pair” (which is in-and-of-itself completely misogynistic- and it certainly made me question myself- my motivations- and “what was the point”?
What got me there was the fact that I was planning on addressing this issue in an upcoming book I am publishing on perfusion life- Below is a passage from the book” “Heart Surgery in America”
What Got Us Here?
“You know what really sucks? When a surgeon treats visiting students or observers on a totally different plateau than how they routinely treat their staff? That was starkly evident today. This particular MD mistakenly turned around and thought the person he was addressing was a scrubbed in visitor- when it was actually one of our own- a scrub tech that is 100% committed to doing the best job she possibly can. Whatever his comment was- it was coddling and nurturing… Everyone laughed- because the sad truth was- he would have never been so kind to one of us- Everyone laughed because we are beaten down- Stockholm Syndrome- look it up.
The group laughed, although the inequity of the moment wasn’t lost on anyone. People are just too afraid or cowed or beaten down to suggest that they are in an abusive environment. It’s really pretty sad. It’s repulsive honestly- that a professional group of Nurses and Clinicians- can be so beaten into subordination and submission- that they are forced to use humor in order to deal with such an inhumane expression of indifference- and total failure to recognize that the entire crew that works with him- works under the fear of angry and unwarranted attacks. realizing that it’s not a matter of IF- rather a sickening anticipation of WHEN these sort of surgeons lose it and take it out on one of the staff. The natural instinct is to align yourself with the surgeon, and try to deflect with humor- eventually that leads to a pack mentality that will prey on whatever victim just made a mistake or pissed the surgeon off- albeit a member of the team.
Its scary. After the case and the surgeon has left- we talk about anything BUT- the elephant in the room- instead we try to cover the bases by trying to smooth over whatever crap we dealt with, when it’s “just us”. Now if that doesn’t scream ABUSE then what does? We are either relieved after the case that the surgeon didn’t flip out on us- or we re-live- the most untoward moments of the operation- and how bad it got- or what tweaked the surgeon- at what particular time. We cover up by laughing about it- BUT IT’S NOT FUNNY. It’s totally embarrassing- we are professional adults- in a very rare and elite arena- with families- and instead of worrying about our kids (that due to our schedule- we don’t see OFTEN enough) we become like children, and ruminate and re-live the needlessly dramatic moments we have just been forced to endure… It sucks.”