10 Horrifying Stories of Doctors Behaving Badly
If you thought the details of Joan Rivers' death from complications during a routine endoscopy couldn’t get any more shocking, you’re wrong: Rumors surfaced today that Dr. Lawrence Cohen, the gastroenterologist who performed the procedure, allegedly snapped a selfie of himself and the unconscious comedian just moments before the procedure.
Outrageous? Absolutely. Infuriating? For sure. But this kind of—questionable would be the kind way to put it—behavior isn’t as uncommon as you might think. Get a gander at some other examples of physicians, nurses, and even a couple of clueless medical students gone wild over the past several years. (Trust us: The plotlines of Grey’s Anatomy have nothing on these.)
*In 1999, a New York City surgeon carved his initials (a large A Z, if you’re interested) into the belly of a patient after he performed a Caesarean section.
Adding insult to injury: The District Attorney’s office had received complaints about complaints about “Dr. Zorro” (as he came to be known) for at least seven years before the incident—with two dozen patients and fellow practitioners citing incidents they described as “dangerous” and “weird.”
*In 2010, a nurse injected herself with a painkiller meant for a patient who was prepped for kidney stone surgery.
Adding insult to injury: While filling herself full of meds, she advised the distraught guy to “man up” and “go to your beach…go to your happy place.”
*In 2000, a surgeon left in the middle of surgery to run to the bank and cash his paycheck.
Adding insult to injury: He told his stunned OR team that he’d be back in about five minutes; he returned 35 minutes later.
*A married doctor attacked his pregnant lover in 2000 with a syringe—reportedly shouting, “I am going to give you an abortion!”.
Adding insult to injury: After his dastardly deed, the MD still had the presence of mind to deposit the empty syringe into a medical waste container at a nearby hospital.
*In 2002, a New Jersey medical student presented his girlfriend with the hand of a cadaver that was scheduled to be cremated.
Adding insult to injury: The severed appendage was later found sitting in a jar in the apartment of the aforementioned lover, a local exotic dancer.
*An Ann Arbor pediatrician was charged in 2011 with looking out of the window of his home and watching his neighbor, a 12-year-old girl, change her clothes.
Adding insult to injury: The girl was a patient of the doctor since birth.
*In 2010, a medical student posted a photo on Facebook of a classmate posing next to a dead body during an anatomy class, smiling and giving a thumbs-up sign.
Adding insult to injury: Did we mention that the student was smiling and giving a thumbs-up sign?
*Two Wisconsin nurses were fired in 2009 after taking snaps of an X-ray—showing an object lodged in a patient’s rectum—and posting them to Facebook.
Adding insult to injury: According to the police, the nurses took the photos after learning that said object was a sexual device.
*After being handed a device that wasn’t working properly during a complicated operation, a surgeon lost her cool—big time.
Adding insult to injury: During her 2011 tirade, the doc slammed the device down, accidentally breaking a technician’s finger.
*In 2009, a Texas doctor persuaded a county sheriff to go after two nurses who had accused him of unethical practices.
Adding insult to injury: Those unethical practices included using his office to run an herbal remedies business.