Dismiss Notice
Hey Texans—join us for a DFW meetup! Click here to learn more.

Racial jokes from attending

Discussion in 'General Residency Issues' started by tcw2u, Nov 15, 2005.

  1. tcw2u

    tcw2u Junior Member
    15+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2002
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    I need some advice and opinions about how to approach this situation. I have been working with the same attending for the past 3 weeks. This attending likes to joke around and "have fun" at work, but however I think some of his jokes are inappropriate. During my time on the rotation a conversation came up about where we were from. I told everyone on the service that I was born in Hong Kong and moved to the states when I was 11 years old. There has been numerous instances when I am doing a procedure with him where he is supervising me, and he has made racial/racist jokes. One such joke goes "you need to use more local anesthetic than that, I know in china they try to conserve whatever they can so that they have enough to go around for the billions of people...". This was directly in front of a patient who was conscious, not sedated, and in front of another resident. I just laughed it off since I was concentrating on the procedure and the patient. Another example of his joke was I mentioned that I like getting Starbucks Frappuccino, since he claims himself to be a coffee connoisseur. He says isn't that expensive and how can you afford buying that all the time. I just told him I owe so much debt from school loans, what's another 5 bucks. So the next time I do a procedure with him there was a comment about how expensive a piece of equipment we were using was, he says, "that's ok, we can get the resident to pay for it, since he probably runs all these sweatshops back in china in order to be able to afford drinking frappuccinos all the time". Again this was in front of a conscious, minimally sedated patient, another resident, and nurses. One of the nurses heard this and asked me, are you going to take that from him? My response was what can I do? He's an attending...., and I'm gloved for a procedure. These are only 2 examples of racial comments he has made.

    So my question is whether you guys think this is inappropriate and unprofessional, and how I should go about stopping this. He is making these comments/jokes almost on a daily basis now, in front of the patient and other residents/nurses, and makes me uncomfortable. He thinks he's funny but I'm not sure others feel the same. I also don't want to jeopardize my future career by confronting him and have the rest of the department think that I am a problem resident who can't take a joke.

    I only have 3 more days left on this rotation but I am sure I will run into him again on other rotations. I'm trying to decide whether to let it slide or confront him next time he makes another racial joke. I need some advice please.... Has anyone else been in similar shoes???
     
  2. Note: SDN Members do not see this ad.

  3. toughlife

    toughlife Resident
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2004
    Messages:
    1,836
    Likes Received:
    2
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]

    Finish the rotation, make sure you won't have to work with him in the future, wait for him to turn in your evaluation and then and rip him a new one on your evaluation.
     
  4. Poety

    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Messages:
    2,227
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    I agree, and I would definitely not only rip him a new one, I'd write every incident down and document it and report it- that is RACISM and he is way out of line. He's not only making you feel uncomfortable, hes probably making his patients, the nurses and everyone else around feel uncomfortable and to be totally honest with you - he really has NO RIGHT to do that to ANYONE - period. If you don't step up, this will continue to happen.

    I"m sorry, but I just can't stand when people let this type of behavior go on - I understand the risks of going against the grain, but these instances can only escalate and get worse. I find nothing funny about what he said and if I had been there, I'd have been the first to tell him that he was the most unprofessional attending I had worked with, and that I'd take a FAIL if it meant I had to be subject to his abusive banter for one more minute. But thats me, and I realize that not everyone is capable of bringing themselves to do this type of thing.

    Good luck - I wish you all the best.
     
  5. edinOH

    edinOH Can I get a work excuse?
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2002
    Messages:
    768
    Likes Received:
    4
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    Just to play devils advocate.

    Is it possible the person in question isn't necessarily racist, just perhaps ignorant? Sometimes people have a way of being insensitive to certain issues/areas without meaning to imply racism. It could be a reflection of interactions they've had with people in the past of other cultures or nationalities where jokes like these among all involved and in both directions were common and not taken or intended as real insults. I of course wasn't there and don't really know the specifics, just a couple of thoughts.

    I agree the comments are inappropriate and should be addressed. I think they way in which they are addressed is important however. I realize you are in a difficult situation in a student/attending relationship but I think the honorable thing for you to do is to attempt to address this issue at a much lower and informal level before you start documenting times and dates and submitting formal evaluations or complaints. If your intention is to destroy this person's career then I guess you could follow some of the advice above. If you would like to bring the behavior to this person's attention in an attempt to give them a chance to recognize it and change it, then perhaps you should either bring it to the attention of the chief resident, the program coordinator or another faculty member whom you trust. You will probably get the result you are looking for and you won't have destroyed your chance at matching at the program as a result.
     
  6. fedor

    fedor gunning like the NRA
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2005
    Messages:
    431
    Likes Received:
    0
    Some people like to joke around at the expense of others. The attending definitely seems like one of these people. If it wasn't your ethnic background, it would be something else (height, crappy undergrad you went to, weight, suturing, etc). The attending is not a nice person but you can't let these little things affect you. If it bothers you, talk to him about it privately.
     
  7. Poety

    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Messages:
    2,227
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]

    This statement was RACIST, DEGRADING, and UNCALLED FOR, its disgusting behavior - and some of us (meaning me) are very anti-racism hence, I stick with my above post. HOWEVER, I do realize that you may feel this would jeopardize you're career and cause more anxiety and stress for you than the actual incident did - so I say follow what you feel you should do in your gut - and the other posters had some great ideas too - to confront the attending personally. (Which I recommend doing anyway prior to reporting someone) But you should have your backup and have documented each incident and what was said.

    Being of Native American decent, I don't want this guy near me at ALL - so I would tell him what a jerk he is, and let him know I'll be transferring service if this was the beginning of your rotation - but since its at the tail end - I would confront him after he evaluates you (and btw, don't necessarily expect a good eval from this guy) and then I would be prepared with ammo if he tries to screw you. I really wish you all the luck. Thank God I have NOT ever run into such a jerkoff for an attending. (I've instead had to deal with sexual jokes which for me are MUCH MORE TOLERABLE than racist ones)
     
  8. mosche

    mosche Senior Member
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2004
    Messages:
    473
    Likes Received:
    0
    I echo Poety's sentiments. Any attending who has had to deal with medical students, residents, patients, and other medical professionals ought to KNOW that these types of behaviors/statements are unacceptable. That having been said, put your comments into the evaluation that you give him/her at the end of your rotation. At our school, the evals. are anonymous. Thus, it easy for us to be open and honest. If that is not the situation at your school, find another attending/professional who is of the same ethnicity as you, and discuss the situation with them. The attending/professional will be in a much more solid position -- since they know your school -- to offer you sound advise.

    I will offer one piece of advice: Do nothing that will jeopardize your future. People will remember you and how you handle adversity for a long time. Therefore, approach this in a professional manner, and not as someone who is just trying to cause a disturbance. Be contrite and forgiving, and you will gain the respect of those who become involved.
     
  9. Hurricane

    Hurricane Senior Member
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2005
    Messages:
    977
    Likes Received:
    3
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    Is there someone in your program who is known for being a student advocate/mentor? Program director, etc? I would go to that person and ask their advice about how to handle the situation. They may know of past complaints, and they know your institution and its politics, so they can probably give more specific advice about how to handle it. Part of residency training is learning how to handle yourself professionally, so there is no shame in asking someone in a mentoring position how to deal with this in a diplomatic way that will have minimal impact on your future career.

    But I also echo Poety's sentiments about not letting it go. Your attending is being inappropriate and unprofessional, whether it is due to ignorance or simply being an ass. He is creating a work environment that is making others around him uncomfortable, and it needs to stop. The hard part is figuring out how to rise above it and deal with it yourself in a professional way. Good luck.
     
  10. LADoc00

    LADoc00 There is no substitute for victory.
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2004
    Messages:
    6,323
    Likes Received:
    379
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    I have seen crazy racist stuff that actually affected patient care, one recent incident comes to mind where I had an atypical breast lesion and one of my partners remarked I could ignore it because "likely they are pregnancy related changes, she''s mexican, theyre all pregnant." Needless to say, Im currently interviewing for other groups. (well my intentions arent really noble, Im looking for more $$$ too)
     
  11. Al Pacino

    Al Pacino Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2002
    Messages:
    123
    Likes Received:
    1
    The comments are inappropriate. Document each incident in detail, including time, location, his exact words, the names of those around you, and so forth. Document objectively. Documentation is key; otherwise, the issue becomes his word against yours.

    Bring the issue to the attention of someone who in the past has been your advocate. If you're a medical student, I'd suggest going to your academic dean, instead of the clerkship coordinator. The clerkship coordinator has a more vested interest in trying to defend his/her program's repuation and is often blinded or unwilling to tackle the antics of colleagues, especially those that are senior ot him. The medical school's academic dean is more interested in the welfare of students and is unaffected by the day-to-day politics of each particular department. Also, medical school deans are very attuned to the issue of harrassment and other student issues.

    If you're a resident, follow the procedures used at your institution. Your program director may be helpful or may be not. Usually the program director is a colleague of the offendor and may be hesitant or unwilling to take corrective action.

    Good luck!
     
  12. 8744

    8744 Guest

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2001
    Messages:
    9,323
    Likes Received:
    168
    Status:
    Non-Student
    I was on a rotation which I will not name at an institution which I will not name with an attending who I will not name.

    I am a very respectful guy and call everybody over me "Ma'am" or "Sir" almost as a reflex. This particular attending did not want ot be addressed as "Ma'am."

    I apologized and told her that it was my Marine Corps upbringing to blame.

    She shoved her ID badge towards me and said, "I have an Arab last name, maybe that will help you treat me with less respect."

    The implication being, of course, that as a former Marine I hate Arabs and hold them in contempt.

    I thought it was a fairly inappropriate remark but of course since I am not a little friggin' whiner I just let it slide.

    My advice to anyone is to just forget about any petty insult unless the insult is part of a pattern or unless the behavior is so egregious as to make ignoring it impossible. In a strange way, I think your attending is just rying to be funny.

    By the way, as an unreconstructed white guy, let me assure you that when a bunch of us get together in a group make all kinds of racial, homophobic, and misogynistic (sp) jokes. I know this will horrify some of you but this is just what we do. We don't mean anything by it although I know some of you will lie awake tonight with the enormity of this crime gnawing away at you.
     
  13. Poety

    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Messages:
    2,227
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    double post - see below
     
  14. 8744

    8744 Guest

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2001
    Messages:
    9,323
    Likes Received:
    168
    Status:
    Non-Student

    Absolutely. If it makes you uncomfortable it needs to stop. I bet if you talked to the guy in private and told him how his comments make you feel he would be deeply ashamed, apologize to you, and never make those commnets again. I know I would do that if any of my comments gave offense.

    Document everything but there is no need to make a federal case out of it unless the informal route doesn't solve the problem. Remember, nobody like s a crusader. You can be right (and you are right) but still make such a stink over something trivial that you might as well be wrong for all the good it does you.
     
  15. Poety

    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Messages:
    2,227
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]

    DAMN panda, :eek: I don't even know what to say to that - but I assure you, I won't lose sleep over it tonight.

    As for saying "you don't mean anything by it" I would argue that you do mean to get a laugh out of your friends at someone elses expense, so lets not try to hide that fact ok? Derogatory jokes hurt people because they ostracize those that are the targets. They make fun of cultural differences between groups and are meant to further segregate people. There is nothing beneficial that comes from making fun of others - except perhaps a sense of self righteousness that I personally don't need to make myself feel good about who I am. I think one's confidence and maturity is shown by their ability to accept and tolerate things/people/places that are different from them. But thats just my $.02

    I also found the attendings comments to be completely insensitive to the fact that sweat shops do exist - did he think it was funny that people are making money off of little children in horrible work environments that are often times forced to participate in child pornography and prositution in the back rooms of these sweat shops? Because I didn't. I find NOTHING about this entire scenario funny.

    I understand a lot of people may think "oh you're taking this so seriously" but if you really think about what I'm saying - you may realize that laughing at these jokes or making these jokes is just another form of accepting and perpetuating these types of ideas.

    To the OP - I'm really sorry about what you're going through, it truly SUCKS.

    edit: PS Panda, what that attending did to you is a form of reverse racism, where people make you feel uncomfortable because fo what they believe is a stigma attached to themselves - completely out of line. I'm sure you handled it like a gentleman though :)
     
  16. LADoc00

    LADoc00 There is no substitute for victory.
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2004
    Messages:
    6,323
    Likes Received:
    379
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    :laugh: :laugh: I got a laugh out of that. What a biotch.
     
  17. asdfaa

    asdfaa Member
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2005
    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    0
    :thumbup: :thumbup:
     
  18. asdfaa

    asdfaa Member
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2005
    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes, this is normal. Even high horse psych docs spend a good portion of their time laughing at the hopeless loons they manage. ;)
     
  19. Poety

    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Messages:
    2,227
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]

    Whats normal?

    And I don't laugh at my patients, and I'm not on a high horse if thats what you're implying - I have the right to feel strongly about certain things if I so choose, which it seems to you comes off as "high horse"

    Anyway thats not my intention, I was just pointing out what Panda brought to light, I did not state he makes these jokes - he did. And I'm sure he really doesn't mean anything by them (I've read his other threads, seems like a nice enough person) however, I was just stating how those jokes can be misconstrued by others, and what the ramifications of perpetuating those ideas are - that's how I feel. Last I checked, we do have a right to our own thoughts and ideas am I correct?
     
  20. lowbudget

    lowbudget Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2003
    Messages:
    1,378
    Likes Received:
    22
    Oops, double post. See below.
     
  21. lowbudget

    lowbudget Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2003
    Messages:
    1,378
    Likes Received:
    22
    You shouldn't have to work in such an environment. It definitely sucks.

    Fedor's right though, some people will just find something about you to pick about. If it's not your ethnicity, it could be anything else. Hell, he may even start making gay jokes, even if you're straight!

    Sometimes, things can get kinda loose when you're working around people, in general. And they lose sight that they're being offensive. Personally, my approach is to always fire back, with a smile, one-for-one, because for people who like to joke around, if you dish it, you gotta be able to take it. Keep it light, don't let it escalate.

    On a casual conversation, ask about him, his background, his family, whatever. Last resort, just make fun of surgeons. You'll ALWAYS be able to find something... like, "Well, hell, let me give a little bit more lidocaine. We've got plenty back in Dr. X's trailer park. Can I get a 4-0 duct tape please?" or something. I would make sure I set it up first though. I would joke around with him first, just to make sure he's cool with you joking with him. And then fire when ready. Maybe something like, "Sweatshops! Hey that's a good one, Dr. X, I like it" (strategy: butter him up, then tear him down, nicely). "Oh and uh, Frappacino's on me, except for Dr. X. Our elevators have a weight limit."

    There's a difference between joking around and total abuse. I mean, does he like you?

    Listen, as a fellow East Asian, this crap happens ALL THE TIME; and I'm sure it's happened to you before. And you will go bonkers everytime you get pissed off. Laugh it off, come up with some GOOD comebacks and fight fire with fire.
     
  22. fedor

    fedor gunning like the NRA
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2005
    Messages:
    431
    Likes Received:
    0
    There's no reason you should bring up the attending's ethnicity in some sort of counterattack.

    Use a little wit and you will get some respect. If he mentions something about your sweatshop back in China, ask him if he's asking because he's looking for a job? With a smile of course... If it's not in your personality to make witty comebacks, then talk to him privately and not emotionally. 99% likely he was just joking around with you and will stop if asked.

    Whatever you do, don't go running to the chairman with documentation at this stage. Many people will think you overreacted.
     
  23. pillowhead

    pillowhead Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2002
    Messages:
    1,029
    Likes Received:
    3
    I appreciate your sentiments, I really really do. But sometimes, you've just got to laugh at patients, the hospital, the staff, the world. It's the only way to get through the day--you sometimes just can't take everything so seriously or it will really start to affect you emotionally and you will not be a happy person. For example, I have a somewhat demented patient right now who spouts off all sorts of racist comments when he gets agitated--to the staff, the other patients, faculty--he doesn't care. At first, I was really bothered by him, but now I just kind of shake my head and laugh with my intern when we leave the room and he's saying nasty things. I'm absolutely committed to providing the best care to my patients and laughing at them might seem contradictory to that, but if I didn't laugh, I'd get mad. And I think getting mad can potentially compromise patient care much more than laughing.
     
  24. tcw2u

    tcw2u Junior Member
    15+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2002
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well the racial comments continued again today as I had expected. I stressed over this all last night about how I was going to approach this. Another racial comment he made yesterday was while I was doing a thoracic epidural with the upper level resident, he was mentioning how I always direct the needle superiorly and it might actually be to my benefit in a thoracic epidural. The attending then went on to say that "yeah chinese people always overcompensate". This was yesterday before I posted my original message and again I tried to laugh it off.

    This morning at breakfast as we were leaving the cafeteria somehow he felt compelled to tell the student nurse anesthetist that "yeah yesterday I was saying how the chinese over compensate", off of a totally unrelated subject. The student nurse had no idea was he was talking about and there was an uncomfortable silence. I then politely went on to say that yeah he's making another uncomfortable joke. He tried to justify what he said by saying he was in a "very multicultural fraternity in college" where there was a Japanese guy who they always joke with and there was no limit to what they would joke about, I'm sure race related. I didn't pursue the matter further and had hoped that my comment about his uncomfortable joke would make him stop.

    Later that day I was doing another thoracic epidural and at the end of the procedure he again make an off color remark about the chinese in front of the patient, RN, the upper level resident, and a nursing student. This time I didn't let it slide and called him out as a racist. The RN who was holding the patient for me asked me what he was talking about, and I said "He's making another racial joke again. He always does this when I am doing a procedure. It might have been funny the first couple of times but he keeps making these racial jokes and now it's just getting offensive." She agreed with me and said yeah I'm sure it gets old after awhile. There was another uncomfortable silence in the room as I was taping up the patient.

    I wasn't sure whether he got the message; so as me, the upper level resident, and the racist attending were heading back upstairs waiting for the elevator, I said "Yeah I don't appreciate these racial comments anymore, they are not funny and are starting to get offensive". He started getting really defensive and raised his voice in agitation and said "Yes I heard you the first time! It's ok just drop it!" My response to this was "No I am not going to drop this because this is not right. This needs to stop because I don't want this to happen again to anyone else, it's inappropriate and unprofessional especially in front of the patient and staff...." He again raised his voice to an anger yell now, cut me off and said "I SAID JUST DROP IT, IT WON'T HAPPEN AGAIN, YOU WON'T HEAR ANOTHER WORD. MY PARENTS ARE FROM POLAND AND ITALY SO I AM NOT RACIST, SO LET'S JUST DROP IT". I tried to finish what I had started saying but I felt like I was pushing the envelope and don't think I could have rebuttled with anything else without it escalating into something physical. So finally I said FINE.

    I believe that his behavior was very immature, especially the fact that when I tried to confront him he basically completely shut down and did not want to discuss things like an adult in a professional manner. While I really wanted to give him a piece of my mind I did not want to jeopardize my career and risk me completely losing my temper and doing something I regret. This whole exchange occurred with the upper level resident present and he witnessed everything including most of the other racist jokes he has made in the past.

    While we were back upstairs I was still pretty upset and was talking to the upper level resident about what just happened in the elevator and he apologized to me, even though he has taken no part in these jokes. I also told the SRNA about what happened downstairs and she also agreed that the racial jokes were starting to get old. I took comfort from the fact that my upper level apologized to me meaning that he too thought all the racial jokes were inappropriate.

    I truly believe this attending is racist. He is from a small town in Alabama, also he was in the ROTC just so that he didn't have to pay for medical school. He also asked me about a week ago when I first told him I was from Hong Kong "so if America were to goto war with china which side would you be fighting on?" I thought that was a really uncomfortable question. First of all when I was still living in Hong Kong as a kid it was still part of Great Britain, but after 1997 it was turned back over to China. I'm not sure he understands this. Plus I am an American citizen, spent the past 17 years of my live in the US, so my first response was well I went into the health profession hoping that I will never have to fight anyone of any nationality. He didn't let the issue go and pressed on to say "no but seriously what if you weren't in the health profession and we were at war with china?" I said since I am a US citizen I would fight for the US and not for China, which Hong Kong was not a part of when I moved to the US. I just thought that was a really uncomfortable question and that was pretty much the beginning of all these racial comments about me being a chinese guy. Later that day he told the SRNA "good news, we figured out that our resident will be fighting on our side if we ever goto war with china." He could not see anything else past my outter appearance of black hair and black eyes, but only a chinese guy who "we flew in from china to work for us", another comment he made to a patient. It also really bothered me that he never apologized for his actions after I confronted him. It seems he thought it was ok to make all those racist comments.

    I don't think I can change the way this attending is who is now in his late 40s and has the maturity of a 13 year old. Further argument with him would be fruitless. I am thinking about writing a letter of complaint to my chairman and program director about what happened, so at least if he gives me a bad evaluation they would know the true reason why. Also our chairman is a big advocate about cultural sensitivity and actually made all the 2nd year residents take a medical spanish course, so hopefully he would understand and will be on my side.

    I really hope this won't put a bad mark on me when I need to ask them for letters when I apply for fellowships/jobs. I just don't want to give them the impression that I am difficult to work with or worse yet a troublemaker. I don't have any intention of destroying this attending's career, and I'm sure he can find a job somewhere else anyway. I do want to make him realize that what he did was wrong and to prevent this from occurring again to any other minority residents working under him.

    I hope I dealt with the situation as professionally as I could. I used my values and what I felt was right and confronted him. I may have prevented him from future racial harrassment of minority residents, but I'm sad to say that he will likely stay racist the rest of his life and no one can change that. It disappoints me that in such educated professions like medicine there are people like these who are totally insensitive, probably many more who have the same mentality but just not as ignorant as to say it in the open.

    Anyway 2 more days left on the rotation, if he makes another racist comment to me he might end up on the news. But I am really glad that I confronted him today
     
  25. Poety

    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Messages:
    2,227
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]

    I completely agree, I just think its more of me laughing in response to the behavior and not at the expense of them. For instance, not once have I found a decompensated schizophrenic patient "funny" Its just sad.

    Trust me, if you read my posts, I'm probably one of the most light hearted people on here - but some things just are not funny. ie sweat shops, racism, homophobia, anti-semitism. I try to stay away from ism's all together since they all lead back to hate. I don't think laughing at a patients behavior necessarily leads to any hatred. And ofcourse, patients can act funny, and make me laugh, as can anyone else.

    I think most can see the drift of my post, and there really is nothing funny about what this attending was saying. My point was not to turn this into a "who has a sense of humor" thread, (that was not the OP's intent) but to make the points that some behaviors in a professional environment are way out of line, and should not be tolerated.

    Who we are in our private lives doesn't always have to come out when we are expected to be professional. Thats what professionalism is. Some things are serious, but not all - its all about balance, and to me, this guy was way off as his personal insult far outweighed his professionalism. This is evident by the fact that the OP was upset by his words - enough to post it here.

    Anyway, I don't want to take away from the OP's post so please respond to his comments - my apologies for ranting about my anti 'ism's -- but this thread should return to advising him.
     
  26. 8744

    8744 Guest

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2001
    Messages:
    9,323
    Likes Received:
    168
    Status:
    Non-Student
    Um, OK. But aren't you being a bit stereotypical here yourself? I understand your allusion to a small Alabama town but ROTC?

    It just doesn't compute.
     
  27. MoosePilot

    MoosePilot Y Bombardier
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2004
    Messages:
    11,735
    Likes Received:
    2
    Status:
    Medical Student
    What is the equivalent to racism when you imply that someone's ROTC background or regional origin contributes to their prejudices? You're no better than he is. It's bad to be racist against Chinese-Americans, but not Alabama-Americans?
     
  28. Poety

    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Messages:
    2,227
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]

    OMG, I am SO SORRY. :mad: :mad: :mad: +pissed+ What an ABSOLUTE ARSEHOLE. You did everything you could - and I commend you for standing up for yourself and for being proud enough and strong enough to say what you feel.

    I will not tell you what to do - I can only tell you what I would do, and that would be to speak with the chairman of the department to let him know that you've had some issues and that you feel it may jeopardize your evaluation. This way, its on the table before that jerkoff can give you a bad eval and then you end up looking like a disgruntled resident.

    He asked YOU to play this game, you didn't go in there starting all this crap so you do what you have to do to protect yourself. I am so happy that you stood up for yourself, as many people would have just backed down and sucked it up to "not cause waves" It takes a really strong person to do what you did, honestly. And if nothing else, you at least made this guy have to think about what he says before he says it - for fear of backlash if he doesn't watch out.

    I'm rooting for you 100% - please keep us posted on the outcome and again, be proud and feel strong because you are :) :clap:
     
  29. asdfaa

    asdfaa Member
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2005
    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    0
    How did you go about "checking" that? :confused: Yeah, you have a right to your own thoughts and ideas, and when you express them, note that you also have a right to be criticized. :p
     
  30. asdfaa

    asdfaa Member
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2005
    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    0
    "Alabama-American" is not a racial catagory. I'm sorry to say it, but you're being incredibly silly here. ;)
     
  31. asdfaa

    asdfaa Member
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2005
    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    0

    My oh, my. This is turning out to be quite a gripping little saga, isn't it? :laugh:
     
  32. Poety

    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Messages:
    2,227
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]

    WikIpedia ofcourse! Isn't that where ALL SDN'ers get their info? :laugh:

    Criticism is the only ism I tolerate well :p
     
  33. MoosePilot

    MoosePilot Y Bombardier
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2004
    Messages:
    11,735
    Likes Received:
    2
    Status:
    Medical Student
    No, it's regional. That makes it ok? I'm not being silly. He's upset because the attending made jokes about what he might be like because he's from a certain region. Then he attributes the attending's behavior to the region the attending is from. He also implies that anyone who has gone through ROTC might be a closet racist.

    Do you not see a double standard here?
     
  34. Poety

    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Messages:
    2,227
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    Quick with wit, I like that. Enjoyed the banter thank you!
     
  35. Poety

    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Messages:
    2,227
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    I do, and I see what you're saying - and you're right. Fighting racism with racism/regionalism won't work, however, I hope he isn't making Alabama jokes in public while he is surrounded by other professionals. This is that fine line of balance - keep it professional where you're supposed to be professional and keep your thoughts to yourself -
     
  36. mosche

    mosche Senior Member
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2004
    Messages:
    473
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree with you Poety! Unfortunately, it is very easy to lose sight of the fact that we, as physicians/future physicians, must maintain a certain level of decorum -- even when we're pissed.

    Professional ism means maintaining that decorum in the difficult situations. It's easy to act professional when things are going superbly -- not so easy when the walls are falling down around you. It's at those times that you do not want to stoop to the level of the aggressor.<Mixed metaphor?>

    As an addendum: I believe that we have to choose our battles. Racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, homophobia and other inappropriate -isms in all their nasty forms, are always devisive battles, but worthy battles none the less.

    To the OP, I again implore you to be contrite. Being angry, accusatory, or insolent will only make you appear to be the instigator.

    Again, good luck and I hope things work out in a way that will be beneficial to all -- including future students who have to work with said attending!
     
  37. psychedoc2b

    psychedoc2b Senior Member
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2004
    Messages:
    164
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi,

    I think you do have a point. However, if you think racist comments are bad think about what a diagnosis of mental illness receives. I did not wave a white flag about my illness but sometimes my meds were not working and I was feeling crappy. I had this occur to me several times and thought I should disclose my illness. Afterwards, I had so many comments about the "loonies" in the room by my superiors that I felt that I should have just quit medical school. But, I did not. I tell you it does hurt to encounter prejudice. Just do your job and move on. When you become an attending you can call the shots. I really feel your pain. But, don't despair. I'm sure you will handle this situation well by doing a good job and moving on.

    psychedoc2b
     
  38. psychedoc2b

    psychedoc2b Senior Member
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2004
    Messages:
    164
    Likes Received:
    0
    repeated post, sorry!
     
  39. usnavdoc

    usnavdoc Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2005
    Messages:
    919
    Likes Received:
    2
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    [

    I’ve been reading this post out of curiosity mainly but I have to respond. I agree that what your attending was doing is reprehensible. But you have also acted completely unprofessional. You never have dialogue like that in front of a patient especially during a procedure. That uncomfortable silence you spoke of...How do you think that patient felt. He/She is already in a vulnerable position and you just contributed to making it so much worse. Think about the loss in confidence he/she experienced during that time frame. If I were your resident I would have ripped you in half...I wouldn’t be surprised if you don’t all wind up getting into a legal issue over this.

    That being said it is unfortunate that YOU or your resident didn’t step up and handle this matter early on in a professional means. Never ever have these kinds of discussions in front of patients. I know your attending instigated most of this dialogue but you also contributed. Definite loss of style points. This type of harassment should have been dealt with much earlier on in a professional manner.

    You also mention that if this had escalated it might have turned physical??? How about growing up a bit and handling yourself like an adult. Im sure this is not the first time you have had to deal with this in your life. But you definitely acted like it was.

    I would also forget about asking this attending for a LOR. That actually made me laugh. That is unless you plan on blackmailing him for one.
     
  40. toughlife

    toughlife Resident
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2004
    Messages:
    1,836
    Likes Received:
    2
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]

    What state are you in?
     
  41. toughlife

    toughlife Resident
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2004
    Messages:
    1,836
    Likes Received:
    2
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
     
  42. tcw2u

    tcw2u Junior Member
    15+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2002
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0

    What I did was standing up for myself. During the procedure I rebuted the attendings racist joke by commenting on how the attending likes to make racial jokes and it's getting offensive. I had enough of his comments and I tried to stop it in a polite, mature manner by telling him that I felt uncomfortable with his jokes earlier when we were not in a procedure and it didn't work. I wasn't about to let him continue on and see how far he can push it.

    I meant getting letters from my PD and chairman after filing a complaint to them, not from this attending I've been dealing with. To even think I would ask this attending is ******ed.

    In referring to the attending being from Alabama and in the ROTC, this is the conversation our whole team was having (he was asking where everyone was from and he was telling everyone he is from Alabama and was in the ROTC)that eventually lead to him asking what side I would fight on if there was a war between china and the US, a very uncomfortable subject indeed. I was not trying to relate regionalism to his behavior but this was the conversation that started it all.

    Lastly, I acted in a way that allowed my conscious to be at ease. The uncomfortable silence was from the attending who is always doing the talking/joking/berating during the procedures. I waited until there was no one else around besides the attending, me, and the 4th year resident before attempting to have a full discussion about his unprofessionalism. He was the one who lost his cool and acted like he was going to retaliate physically. I am not stupid enough to start a physical fight with anyone, especially an attending.

    "If I were your resident I would have ripped you in half." That's really mature/professional!!! :laugh:
     
  43. lowbudget

    lowbudget Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2003
    Messages:
    1,378
    Likes Received:
    22
    Wow, what a story! I'm glad you have guts, cuz I don't think I would have had it.

    But sounds like he was embarrassed! What a moron. Who's laughing now, b!tch?

    Since the cat's out of the bag and everyone's on your side, you may as well just write this guy up all the way, and just give the chief resident a head's up, tell your PD, and the chair. Just CYA.

    Damn kid, STAND UP and be COUNTED!
     
  44. cytoborg

    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2004
    Messages:
    770
    Likes Received:
    2
    Status:
    Fellow [Any Field]
    Wow - OK - now that you have confronted him, and he clearly didn't take it well, you need to go to someone within your med school (i.e. a dean) and let them know what happened, BEFORE your eval comes out. This way you can document that this incident occured, and if your eval ends up reflecting this incident, then you'll have a better case for contesting it.

    I confronted an attending when he got into an inappropriate line of comments during a one-on-one evaluation session. The session was going great, friendly and positive, until the end when it completely unraveled with these shockingly bigoted comments. I called him on it, in kind of a half-joking way trying to keep it light-hearted, but he clearly didn't like being stood up to. We ended on a semi-positive note, so I kept my fingers crossed that the incident would end there, that he would be embarrassed at himself and would not stoop so low as to hurt my eval. Well, come eval time, every single person but this attending wrote stellar stuff and said I should get honors - the attending's comments were scathing, completely from left field, not at all what he had told me during the verbal eval session (prior to the incident of course). Of course I was pissed as hell and did mention it to one of my deans, because the comments in this eval weren't even accurate. But I could see the dean didn't really believe me - the story was so outrageous. It probably looked like I was just mad I didn't get honors and was trying to blame someone. I should have gone straight to my dean right after the incident happened so that his comments on my eval could have been taken into context. In the end I just let it go because it wasn't worth it to me to fight it.

    Reading your story I was kinda wishing that you had called him on it earlier, when the comments first started. A simple "I know you're just joking, but those comments make me a little uncomfortable - would you mind not joking about my ethnicity anymore?" would probably have sufficed. Some people have a hard time sensing other people's boundaries, or simply don't know what's appropriate, and need to have it spelled out for them when they cross the line. Hopefully this guy has gotten the message! Sounds like he was embarrassed. Still go to your dean, though, just to CYA.
     
  45. mosche

    mosche Senior Member
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2004
    Messages:
    473
    Likes Received:
    0
    Excellent advice Cytoborg! Sorry to hear your story, though.

    To the OP: Go to your Dean today! What's done is done, now you have to cover yourself. Don't ssume that the offending physician will just "let it go".
    When you talk to the appropriate authorities, you might tell them that you "want no further problems, nor do [you] wish to take it any further. [You] just wanted to make them aware of the situation in case it should be brought up again."

    Good luck!
     
  46. 8744

    8744 Guest

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2001
    Messages:
    9,323
    Likes Received:
    168
    Status:
    Non-Student
     
  47. usnavdoc

    usnavdoc Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2005
    Messages:
    919
    Likes Received:
    2
    Status:
    Attending Physician
     
  48. 8744

    8744 Guest

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2001
    Messages:
    9,323
    Likes Received:
    168
    Status:
    Non-Student
    Um....my parents immigrated from Greece in the sixties but I'd kick down doors in Athens and call in airstrike on the Parthenon if it came down to it.

    That's the beauty of this country, we're all Americans despite our racial and cultural backgrounds.
     
  49. CatsandCradles

    CatsandCradles SDN Donor
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2005
    Messages:
    1,654
    Likes Received:
    5
    Status:
    Other Health Professions Student
    tcw2u,

    You are in a very difficult situation. I can sort of understand the dilemma you are in. Being a minority can cause all sorts of diffiucult situations.

    I give you credit for taking all that abuse from that attending. I also give you credit for finally putting him on the DEFENSIVE. Though like what some of the other posters have said, maybe it should have been done away from the patient...

    However you stated that he's been trashing you constantly infront of patients before so maybe what you did too him was actually proper.

    Also, please don't think that everyone in the military is a pro-white, gun hoe American that likes to look down on all the "lesser" people. Sure there are a lot of jerks in the military. These people are so arrogant that they even think that God is an American!

    But let me assure you there are plenty of really respectable and upright moral people in the military as well. I know of several Vietnam war vets of have constantly travled back to the places they fought to build schools and health clinics. Very deeply moving if you ask me. Some of these people are from the deep SOUTH. So it is completely wrong whenever we in the NORTH enertaine our long time notion that all Southerners are all racist. That is simply not true!


    Maybe you can do something I do when things get really bad - you start doing good things for the person that hates you. You start praying that he'll change and become a better person. Wishing other people well when they hate you will definantly raise a lot of eyebrows!

    But it might be too late to do that.

    I know your in a really tight spot and I hope things somehow work out for you. Maybe it's best if you somehow tried to escape the situation that you are in, but again I'm not in your shoes so I don't know.

    God speed you safe and sound,

    C&C
     
  50. Pril

    Pril Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2002
    Messages:
    78
    Likes Received:
    0
    During third year, my attending in Internal Medicine nicknamed me Bin Laden. I hated it but understood that he is like that. After investigating, he gives everybody who works with him a racial nickname. Also, he started calling my other classmate "Cartel", my classmate was originally from Columbia.
     
  51. Hurricane

    Hurricane Senior Member
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2005
    Messages:
    977
    Likes Received:
    3
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    That's nice, but it's still unprofessional for an attending to ask you about that stuff and make everyone else around him uncomfortable for his own entertainment.
     

Share This Page