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unethical behavior

Discussion in 'Allopathic' started by tenaciousB, 01.20.07.

  1. tenaciousB

    tenaciousB Junior Member

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    Hey guys, looking for a little advice here on a disturbing situation.

    I'll spare as many details and get right to the point. A student in our class (we're M1s, doing anatomy this semester, but that's another story) has recently disrespected his group's cadaver both verbally and physically. Once I overheard him making jokes about the cadaver's pubic hair. Another time he made fun of the time when his group wasn't careful about flipping the cadaver over, smashing the head into the dissecting table.

    I kept my mouth shut for the time being but I really am wondering if I should go to our school's administration and let them know what's been going on. This student has acted very unprofessionally in a number of ways inside and outside of class and has demonstrated a total lack of empathy for anyone for a period of multiple months. However, since it's a well-known fact around school that we hate each other, I'm concerned it'll just look like I'm trying to take revenge. And I suppose to some extent I do want revenge, but I also see this person as someone who's going to be a terrible doctor, potentially make our school look bad someday, and most concerning of all, harm patients.

    Any advice on what I should do? I can already guarantee direct confrontation will not be successful with this individual, but if you see it as the best/only option let me know. Thank you.
  2. Church

    Church Snark-free since 2008

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    If their behavior is THAT disturbing, someone else will bring it to the attention of the faculty. It's good of you to recognize that your open antipathy for this person could affect how your comment would be seen. With that in mind, I'd sit tight and let someone with less-well-known anger towards the individual drop the dime.
  3. lil pook

    lil pook Senior Member

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    part of being successful in life is knowing when to keep your mouth shut and when to open it.

    i feel that since you are enemies with this person, your superiors may not take your statement seriously.

    it might make you look like a vindictive, whiney, crying baby in the end. that might come back and bite you in the butt.

    be careful.
  4. OncoCaP

    OncoCaP

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    Do you have a trusted friend in your class that you could talk it over with? Given your bias against this person, maybe it would be helpful to get a "second opinion."

    Also, is this person doing these things when the instructors are not there ... do you think that you are the only one who notices this or do you suspect the instructors are aware of what is going on?
  5. BigNavyPedsGuy

    BigNavyPedsGuy Junior Member

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    If you can, just ride it out and ignore it. Whatever you do, don't go straight to the administration. If this student is as bad as you say (which I honestly don't believe based on what you say) then others will feel the same way. Let them report it, since it's not "a well-known fact" that they hate him.

    Any time it becomes a "well known fact" that you hate someone, you've already done a pretty terrible job of handling conflict.

    But if you absolutely have to be the one to do something about this classmate who says bad things, then there is probably some sort of student honor council or advocacy group. If there isn't, then go to your class officers. I know it's frustrating, but you're only a few months in, you'll be able to look back and get some perspective on the situation later. But the administration doesn't want in your feud, I promise.
  6. lilnoelle

    lilnoelle Moderator Emeritus

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    Hmmmm.... not sure that the above actions deserve reporting to admin, especially if it is apparent that you two do not get along. In this situation, you are not the person who should step in. If someone else has a problem with his behavior, they should turn him in. If you are the only one who has a problem with his behavior, then maybe his behavior is not as bad as you think.

    If it is cheating, then you definitely should turn him in, but I'm thinking not so much for unprofessionalism. If you feel that he is being unprofessional, then talk to him. If that doesn't work, maybe try to get a feeling on what other classmates feel.... but then again, with your history with this guy, this might not work.

    And another thing... if it is apparent to you and everyone around you that you guys hate eachother, then you guys are both behaving unprofessionally. Personal feelings should not be that apparent to everyone around you - hate is a strong word.
  7. Bertelman

    Bertelman Maverick!

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    I'm not sure if you are in his dissection crew or not, but I think this is something they should address. If someone at my table were doing something like that, I'd sy cut the sh*t out as soon as it happened. I certainly don't think you should be going to admins. That's a little much. See if his lab partners view this as disturbing as you do. As others have suggested, you may just be searching for other ways to condemn this person based on other encounters.

    Talk to his dissection partners. They should be the first to address. If that fails, try the course director. His behavior won't get him kicked out or anything, which I clearly don't believe should happen. it may be just enough for someone, like a course director, to pull him aside and mention that, although there may not be direct evidence of his actions, such things are inappropriate. And I know this is semantci, but i think "unethical" is a little too strong here. Go with unprofessional, or disrespecting.
  8. Dookter

    Dookter Senior Member

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    If there is one thing I have learned about people from my brief time in med school so far, it's that we are all VERY different. I am absolutely amazed that in my class of ~100, we could probably have ~100 distinctly different viewpoints on the exact same situation. I would hate to think that I did something that someone else disagreed with, and this person went to the administration and "told" on me. Your first step has to be to actually talk to that person about what is making you uncomfortable. After that, it's up to you as to what you'll do. I personally would never go tell the administration about something unless it actually posed direct harm to someone else. You also have to remember that if the things this person does are actually so serious, they will hash themselves out in the long run. People will notice, and the person will be dealt with without you having to do anything at all about it.
  9. turkleton

    turkleton Capeless Crusader

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    I'm not so sure about this. Cheating seems to be the cardinal sin in med school due to our hypercompetitive natures. The tenacity with which we enforce is not out of principles of honesty per se, but because others doing better means we're doing worse. But I have a particular problem with the level of unproefssionalism that this student is demonstrating- that word gets thrown around so much its starting mean crap, but this is as early of a sign of a terrible doctor as you're going to get. Smashing the cadever's head? That's a BODY of a previously living, breathing PERSON who donated it for the benefit of others. You can harp on how cliche this sounds but that's genorsity without credit. I personally don't think unethical is too strong language- their son and daughter may be able to digest that we're going to split dad's head open so we can examine CN II but its completely nauseating if you tell them, oh just for kicks we're going to take his head and smash it on the table. Are you f'in kidding me. Grow up and show some respect.

    Whether you should be the one for reporting this is suspect since you two do have a history, and I agree with others that if this stuff continues, hopefully one of your classmates with a spine will call his ass out, with or without the administration involved.
  10. lilnoelle

    lilnoelle Moderator Emeritus

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    Well, in my case, I wouldn't turn someone in for cheating because of my hypercompetitive nature, but rather because what they did was wrong. I would be conflicted about it and would not want to because my desire to please everyone. I wouldn't want to get them in trouble and would try to give them the benefit of the doubt.... it would be difficult for me to turn in someone for cheating unless I knew for sure that they did and that the cheating was substantial.

    Concerning the cadaver. The individual in question did not slam the cadaver's head against the table. The group did. The individual in question just laughed about it. I guess definition of "laugh" varies.
    I'm not sure how to write this, I'm guessing what I write will make people call me non compassionate....
    It is (at least for me) normal human response to chuckle when someone stubs there toe, or runs a shoulder into a door, or a knee into the coffee table. Heck, I laugh at myself when I do it. I wouldn't laugh at someone who actually got hurt. I certainly wouldn't be laughing at my daughter if she fell down the stairs or something like that, but in instances where no real damage has been done, a nervous chuckle is pretty normal.
    This was how I read the opening post. Perhaps I was wrong.
  11. Chinorean

    Chinorean Senior Member

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    I'd advise against it. While your classmate's behavior isn't the most impressive, I think you would sound kind of silly telling the admins, "Well...he made fun of the cadaver's pubic hair and laughed when it got flipped over the wrong way." While it would highlight his inappropriate behavior, it would also make you sound petty.
  12. Bertelman

    Bertelman Maverick!

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    It's clear that I think this problem needs to be addressed, but I'm also weary of people posting personal grudges on SDN. "Smashing the head into the dissecting table" paints a pic of this guy lifting the head and dropping a people's elbow on it. I hope that if that were truly the case, every person in that room would have kicked his ass. I get the sense that, although the individual in question is stepping over the line, the OP may be inserting some personal bias into the objectivity of the actions, trying to drum up support in an anonymous forum. Wouldn't be the first time it happened.

    As an MS1, I heard stories all the time about so-and-so making someone else cry in anatomy lab, someone's crass humor, etc. When I finally heard the true story, it was far less disturbing, and far less entertaining than what was relayed. I think at that time of your education, everyone is kind of searching for their place in the class. They are also dealing with strong feelings about death, their special privelege of exploring it, and stress. This can cloud rational thought and raise emotions. Therefore, I'm not going to judge the offender for a second-hand story. Get the opinions of others around him and in the room. Consensus.
  13. tenaciousB

    tenaciousB Junior Member

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    OK, I get the picture. I just kind of lost it for a bit after being constantly provoked and snubbed in public by a so-called colleague. Frankly I've been publicly embarrassed and provoked so many times by this individual that I kind of lost my head for a while.

    And with all due respect I don't want to hear some witty remark about how I don't have the temperament to be a doctor. Although it may not sound like it I have managed to keep my cool in public and not taken any revenge, no matter how well-deserved it would be.
  14. lilnoelle

    lilnoelle Moderator Emeritus

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    Does this individual pick on other people as well? Do you do anything to provoke him or try to get him back? If you are doing nothing and this guy is just being a bully, then something should be done about that.
  15. Samoa

    Samoa

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    Unless the person has cheated or stolen, etc. from you (and not just been mean and rude), a formal complaint is a waste of everyone's time.

    And even if it is something serious and real, your complaint will be perceived as petty. It's not fair, but that's how it is. So unless it's so bad you're willing to become a pariah over it (because you will), and you're the only one who knows the story, just let it go. On the other hand, it may very well be worth being a pariah for a while. You're the only judge of that.

    Like everything else in medicine, you have to weigh risk vs. benefit. The risk is all yours, and the rewards, if any, accrue only to the profession. And even if your complaint is 100% true, very likely the other person will get just a slap on the wrist and some extra training and scrutiny regarding their professional ethics. Maybe they'll see the light as a result, or maybe they'll just learn to act like they have for long enough to graduate. Either way, the price is huge and the benefit is dubious at best.
  16. BigNavyPedsGuy

    BigNavyPedsGuy Junior Member

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    I totally disagree with this statement! I don't want to go to a doctor that cheated through school. I, as a patient have already been lied to b/c I walk in with the assumption that the physician has a certain level of knowledge. Unprofessionalism, on the other hand can (and usually is) picked up by the patient and they can find care elsewhere. Also, once you get out of the books and into the real stuff, unprofessionalism will be picked up by those in authority, and dealt with appropriately.
  17. RxnMan

    RxnMan Who, me? A doctor? Moderator Emeritus

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    There was a guy in my class who was cutting up the quads and asked his partner if it looked good enough to BBQ. Some people get freaked out in lab, and cope with the very strange experience by making it a joke.

    That would be bad because:

    And these:
    are weak reasons you're giving yourself to try to convince others that you're not doing this:
    The guy you describe may be a jerk, or he may just be scared and wants to look like a big man. If this guy is really a jerk and acting unprofessional, and not just triggering you, then your classmates know this, and chances are, your profs do as well. Calm down and let the system work.
  18. ALWAYSanANGEL

    ALWAYSanANGEL Removed

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    Are you kidding me? I thought tattle-tales were left in the 3rd grade. Grow up! If he was in your lab group then yes you have a valid claim, but hes not. It is not affecting you in any way, shape or form. If it is then you should stop watching him an maybe pay attention to your own cadaver and own buisness. No one likes a butt inski. So mind your buisness and leave ayour other classmates to their own devices.
  19. Droopy Snoopy

    Droopy Snoopy

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    I agree that "unethical" is too strong a word, maybe a bit rude and disrespectful. It's not like you caught him stealing a kidney or doing something sexual to it. Anyway, if your history was different I'd say act the professional and go talk the dude if it bothers you that much. If you can't do that I don't think there's anything worth taking to admin. But I wholeheartedly disagree with the good German argument that "if it's that bad somebody else will complain" when it comes to ethics stuff; you make the call to deal with it if it's bad enough or leave it alone if it's not.
  20. lilnoelle

    lilnoelle Moderator Emeritus

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    Normally I would agree with you, however, since the Op and the individual have a negative relationship that "everyone" knows about, it would be best if he didn't get involved in a complaint against the guy.
  21. vtucci

    vtucci EM PGY-1 Moderator Emeritus

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    You may be inclined to see your enemy's actions as more negative than they are. Going straight to the administration on this is chancy and given your history might be seen as petty.

    I agree that it might be advisable to seek a second (or third) opinion. Speak to your lab group. Do they find the behavior as offensive? Also, is it just your enemy or his entire group? If it is the group, maybe they should all be reported.

    If you get along well with the others in your lab group, maybe they can broach the subject with your enemy and request that a more professional manner be adopted in the lab. We should all remember that these are individuals who donated their bodies to science so that we may learn through their generosity. It is an act that demands respect and it is most unfortunate that not everyone always behaves as they should.

    However, to play devil's advocate, it is possible that he jokes (albeit perhaps inappropriately) because he is trying to break the tension in the group. Have you seen the movie Gross Anatomy? Humor is often inappropriate but used in the hospital every day to relieve stress.
  22. Droopy Snoopy

    Droopy Snoopy

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    Exactly. Didn't come out as clear as I would've liked in the previous post. Usually I'd say deal with it himself or find someone who can. But both because of the history and because the infraction isn't really that bad, he should just leave it alone.
  23. chrisisinnocent

    chrisisinnocent Elbow deep

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    Given your history with him reporting him might backfire. If he is that much of a jerk he will have ample opportunities to get himself in trouble on the 3rd year rotations.
  24. jeffsleepy

    jeffsleepy Senior Member

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    Just curious, does anyone else not care at all about what happens to their corpse after they die? I mean, you'll be dead. You wouldn't know one way or another anyways.

    Edit: That is not to say that I condone the above actions, because some people obviously do care.
  25. braluk

    braluk SDN Surgerynator Moderator Emeritus

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    I want to be gold encrusted after I die and break the bank. Sorry wifey. :smuggrin:
  26. BigNavyPedsGuy

    BigNavyPedsGuy Junior Member

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    Thread hijacker!!
  27. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Moderator Emeritus

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    Agree with this notion. In a lot of cultures the body is simply an empty husk and the "person" no longer resides there after death. While some find joking about a cadaver disrespectful, for others it is simply a good defense mechanism to get through the hard concepts of death and dying. I'd guess that in a typical class of 200, about 100 will make some crude reference to BBQ or the like before the course is over. About half of those folks will say something cruder, or perhaps funnier. It is a natural response. So while you should have respect for the person who made this experience possible, I don't think you have to have your funeral attendee face on. The situation is a unique one and the notion of death is troubling for some. So if they can get through it better with some off color comedy, there's nothing at all wrong with that. The cadaver sure isn't going to take offense.
  28. Chinorean

    Chinorean Senior Member

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    I thought I didn't care, until we started getting into the gushy things in dissection. Hacking off limbs didn't help. Before I thought I might donate my body to medical school, now I'm fairly certain that I'll be taking it all with me.

    Plus, it does kind of bother me when med students comment about their cadaver's anatomical oddities in such a way that it's like the dead person's fault the student isn't getting an optimal learning experience. I'm not going to donate my body just so people can bitch and whine about my lack of musculature or tiny, blackened heart.


  29. RxnMan

    RxnMan Who, me? A doctor? Moderator Emeritus

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    Cremated and shot out of a cannon.
  30. dpmd

    dpmd Relaxing

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    I am curious what kind of things this person has done to you that you hate each other. It seems that it is coloring your view of his actions. Nothing you described is unusual in the anatomy lab, and I wouldn't call it unprofessional (if he did made fun of the patient's pubic hair while performing a pap smear you would have a valid complaint, if they smashed the cadaver's head on purpose that would be disrespectful). Some people are more sensitive and don't distiguish between alive and dead.

    You should evaluate what the problem is between you that causes you to believe he would be a bad doctor, and harm patients, because you haven't described anything that would make me think that about him. Perhaps you would like to share more details and allow an outside perspective.
  31. logos

    logos 100% Organic

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    I agree with the previous advice, dont do anything, as it really dosent have much potential to be beneficial.

    I dont know how it is at other schools, but here "professionalism" is the administrations favorite meaningless buzzword. If you reported him here it would most likely become a whole big thing with our "Honor and Professionalism council" , a real mess no doubt. Something that I dont think anyone really deserves.

    I dont know exactly what this guy did, but a few pubic hair jokes and laughing at dropping the cadaver seem pretty benign to me. My lab group always used to have a great time...we'd laugh all through anatomy lab...good times. As far as dropping it, I suspect that you arent very far in your dissection yet, because you are eventually going to do some really f'ed up stuff to that body...
  32. Tired

    Tired Still winning.

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    Is this poster for real? He's been "snubbed and provoked in public"? He wants to tell on a classmate for making jokes? He has managed "not to take revenge"?

    Am I reading a f*cking "Sweet Valley High Twins" novel, or is this an episode of "The Real World"?

    OP, if you made it all the way through undergrad, and are now in med school, you need to get a handle on your emotions and not let bullsh*t get such a rise out of you. I'm sure this classmate is an a$$hole, but given the manner that you talk about it, something tells me you are looking for anything to get worked up over when it comes to this person.

    To be totally honest, right now you sound like a pre-teen girl whining to their mom. You need to cut this sh*t out and get on with your life.
  33. beefballs

    beefballs MIDWEST

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    who arer you HUnter S Thompson? come up with your own gonzo funeral don't rip off Hunter's
  34. RxnMan

    RxnMan Who, me? A doctor? Moderator Emeritus

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    And Hunter was the first to think up anything...:rolleyes:

    I was actually thinking of Sarah Vowell's essay "Shooting Dad"
  35. Flopotomist

    Flopotomist I love the Chicago USPS

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    Two thoughts crossed my mind reading the OPs post.

    1. Professionalism goes both ways. We are adults now, and do not resolve conflicts by running to authority figures like we did in kindergarten. If this person was acting disrespectfully, YOU should have been professional, and pulled him aside to voice your concerns at the time.

    2. I can't imagine any reason to "hate" somebody in medical school, and certainly see no reason why the "entire school" should know about your dislike for somebody else. This does not sound like you have created a very professional reputation for yourself. Of course there are people that you may not care for, but simply avoid them - or learn to tolerate them... but don't openly hate.
  36. beefballs

    beefballs MIDWEST

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    either way we agree you are unoriginal
  37. PugMD

    PugMD Removed

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    Haha... As I read this I slowly but surely realize that everything I could have said to the OP has just been blasted in his face. Cheers.:thumbup: :thumbup:
  38. 78222

    78222 Guest

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    To the OP
    Just out of curiosity, is your stethoscope made my Fischer Price? Because you sound like a child.
    This guy hopes to ruin someones career over 2 possibly innappropriate jokes. Grow up man. Some people (me and my group) made jokes the entirety of lab, either that or we talked about sex. After you spend enough hours hack and sawing through a cadaver, you quit seeing it as a human and start seeing it in the same way you would a histology slide. Joking and cutting up is pretty common in anatomy groups and you might enjoy yours (and life) if you loosened up and quit getting offended everytime someone mentions, GOD FORBID, pubic hair. OH MY!
  39. Ypo.

    Ypo.

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    For crying out loud, if his comment offended you, be direct and let him know. I can't imagine anyone going on with making crude comments about the cadavers after getting called on it.
  40. Smitty3L

    Smitty3L Senior Member

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    Sounds like third year will take care of this situation. If the OP is being overly sensitive, a few days into a surgery rotation will toughen you up. If the OP's bully is really a jerk, it should be picked up by the doc's who have to work with them in the clinical setting.
  41. Tired

    Tired Still winning.

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    I'm going to disagree, and take this moment to go on another short rant.

    What the OP is doing is taking a personal problem, and attempting to turn it into professional problem. He has a problem with a classmate, and is considering exacting revenge by committing academic assasination. He believes that his personal dislike for a classmate allows him to judge whether or not this person should be a physician. It is grotesque.

    Everyone gets worked up over gunners, but people like the OP are infinitely worse. A gunner may try to take you down to get a better grade. But the OP is trying to cut a classmates throat over personal sh*t. These are the worst kind of med students. Hopefully someone in his admin will take notice.
  42. 8744

    8744 Guest

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    For that one crime alone he should burn in the deepest pit of hell.
  43. 8744

    8744 Guest

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    In my culture (Klingon) we feel that way.
  44. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Moderator Emeritus

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    LOL - Not exactly what I was referring to, but to each his own. I would think Klingon's would do good dissection, given their comfort with a blade. Probably would even bring their own.:laugh:
  45. Dakota

    Dakota Senior Member

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    The most effective estate plan is to bounce your last check. Bonus points if it's for a sports car.
  46. Dakota

    Dakota Senior Member

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    I got dinged by the empathy police the other day in a standardized pt encounter for failing to show sufficient empathy for my "patient" who has severe asthema problems b/c he started smoking again.

    In other words, my interview was a failure b/c I merely took a non-judgemental complete history and didn't specifically say "sounds like things have been really hard on you recently" or something to that effect.
  47. 45408

    45408 aw buddy

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    No kidding. Some people make jokes because they feel awkward or embarrassed. People made small jokes all the time in anatomy lab, and it helps keep things relaxed. Nobody did anything disrespectful, but let's keep some perspective here - you're cutting a dead person's head in half, removing their entrails, analyzing their anal sphincter and genitals, and then chopping the body in half some more. Why is it a big deal if the cadaver isn't laid down gently?

    There were plenty of comments on the size (or lack thereof) of muscles, aortas, hearts, penises, etc. Big deal.

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