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Posted

A Los Angeles woman is suing an area hospital and her anesthesiologist for allegedly putting a mustache and stickers on her face during surgery as part of a prank that she claims violated her dignity and endangered her health.

The unidentified woman, who worked as a surgical supply purchaser at the hospital, said her coworkers affixed a fake mustache above her lip and yellow tear drops below her left eye before a nurse snapped a photo, according to the suit.

"Perhaps the most vulnerable position any human being will ever endure in their life is a time when they are placed under full anesthesia," reads the lawsuit, which claims the woman was fully anesthetized rather than sedated "for the sole purpose of humiliating and embarrassing the patient."

The woman said that she learned of the prank when she returned to work after the October 2011 surgery and was approached by some coworkers who had seen the photos. Other coworkers avoided her, she claims.

She filed suit against Dr. Patrick Yang of Torrance Memorial Medical Center on August 15 in Los Angeles County Superior court.

 Torrance Memorial acknowledged the mustache photo incident in a statement to ABC News, saying the prank was "intended to be humorous in nature." And although the anesthesiologist and the nurse "demonstrated poor judgment," the hospital maintains that most of the woman's allegations are "factually inaccurate, grossly exaggerated or fabricated."

"While the breach of professionalism outlined above regrettably did occur, Torrance Memorial is vigorously defending this lawsuit and requesting its dismissal," the statement reads, stressing that anesthesiologist Yang and the patient were "friendly" and "had a good working relationship."

 The woman claims in the lawsuit that she was unable to return to work at the hospital because of "mental anguish" and "emotional and physical distress" prompted by the prank.

Beyond the "intentional infliction of emotional distress," she's accusing Yang and the hospital of defamation, invasion of privacy, negligence and civil conspiracy as well as battery and sexual harassment for "placing obscene images on her face" and positioning her neck "so that they could keep her mouth open in order to make a crude sexual joke."

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Posted

Oh please, if she wouldve just had a sense of humor and sucked it up, this wouldnt be news, and now that pic is in full online circulation, it'll take years to forget about, but atleast its not a popular meme (yet...)

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Posted

So she was put under and they pranked her? They should be sued and stripped of any right to practice medicine. You can't get any more unprofessional.

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Posted


Oh please, if she wouldve just had a sense of humor and sucked it up, this wouldnt be news, and now that pic is in full online circulation, it'll take years to forget about, but atleast its not a popular meme (yet...)

Oh, we should just be ok with this level of unprofessionalism on the part of medical staff?  No, this should be reported, and these people punished.  The surgeon's table is not a playhouse. 

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Posted

Oh please, if she wouldve just had a sense of humor and sucked it up, this wouldnt be news, and now that pic is in full online circulation, it'll take years to forget about, but atleast its not a popular meme (yet...)

 

It is a betrayal of trust and a total lack of respect. 

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Posted

This is pretty shameful behavior.

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Posted

Man they suck, the fact she even found out!

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Posted

Let's be reasonable here. Was the prank done in poor taste? Absolutely. Does it warrant professional dismissal or a lawsuit? Of course not. This was not some random patient but somebody who worked at the hospital. The staff involved should be giving a warning and made to apologise but shouldn't face any further action unless there is evidence of further wrongdoing.

 

The lawsuit culture in the US is completely out of control and this is another example of that.

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Posted

Though unprofessional, I hardly see this in anyway as harmful to her health. Still they should be punished and sued, but not at the level where they lose their jobs.

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The woman said that she learned of the prank when she returned to work after the October 2011 surgery and was approached by some coworkers who had seen the photos.

 

Omg, they did something that stupid and then posted photos of it. They should never be allowed to work in medicine again.

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Posted

Let's be reasonable here. Was the prank done in poor taste? Absolutely. Does it warrant professional dismissal or a lawsuit? Of course not. This was not some random patient but somebody who worked at the hospital. The staff involved should be giving a warning and made to apologise but shouldn't face any further action unless there is evidence of further wrongdoing.

 

The lawsuit culture in the US is completely out of control and this is another example of that.

So if you work at a hospital, you are subject to pranks while unconscious and its suddenly ok and acceptable because you are an employee?  Were those prank items sterilized and suitable for an operation?

 

Did you read what you wrote before posting?

 

That is ludicrous.

 

That is like working at Fat Burger and an employee spits in your order.  Its ok, because you know...you work there.

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Posted

Unbelievable.Should be sued for the loss of common sense if there is any charge for that

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Posted

Omg, they did something that stupid and then posted photos of it. They should never be allowed to work in medicine again.

Prank was stupid in itself.

 

 

The real problem:

Goofing around in a hospital with a patient being prepped for surgery.

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Posted

Let's be reasonable here. Was the prank done in poor taste? Absolutely. Does it warrant professional dismissal or a lawsuit? Of course not. This was not some random patient but somebody who worked at the hospital. The staff involved should be giving a warning and made to apologise but shouldn't face any further action unless there is evidence of further wrongdoing.

 

The lawsuit culture in the US is completely out of control and this is another example of that.

 

 

Come on, dude. You ask us to be reasonable when we are discussing medical professionals using an unconscious human being as a play thing? This is unacceptable and I can't imagine if you were the victim of it you'd have such a happy-go-lucky attitude about it.

 

Frankly this is an example of where suing seems entirely reasonable. Medical professionals are in a position of trust, that trust was entirely abused and treated with reckless abandon.

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Posted

I have a feeling those that see no issue with this have never had surgery.

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Posted

So her colleagues put a mustache on her. She should have handled it through her HR manager. She works there after all. 

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Posted

So her colleagues put a mustache on her. She should have handled it through her HR manager. She works there after all. 

Maybe she did and they didn't do anything about it.

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Posted

There's a couple of things in this story: putting a mustache stickers on a anesthetized patient, while taking photos and moving the patients head simulating a sexual scene and distributing those photos among the colleagues? Not only it's wrong, unacceptable (because that person is vulnerable while unconscious) and violates the patients privacy but dangerous as well, since we don't know if those props were sterilized; it's a surgery after all.

 

Also i find incredible disgusting that, because that person worked there, it's OK to do this kind of things; saying it's poor judgement is a joke. She should be treated as a patient, not a co-worker. And i guess that she feels humiliated by working there again seeing the same coworkers.... :/

 

Also the article says that her co-workers didn't report this incident, the hospital attitude is very defensive and they find it's not a big deal because the physician had a good working relationship with the plaintiff...disgusting, to say the least.

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Posted

The biggest issue I see here is the lack of professionalism.

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Posted

Oh, we should just be ok with this level of unprofessionalism on the part of medical staff?  No, this should be reported, and these people punished.  The surgeon's table is not a playhouse. 

 

I never said it was acceptable, I was saying that because she made a huge deal about it, that pic is going to circulate the internet and media outlets forever, she couldve just the same kept it between her, her lawyer, and the hospital's legal department.

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Posted

at first i was thinking harmless, but after much thought, i too feel it would be extremly distasteful and looks incrediblely stupid on the professionals involved... these are not frat parties and these are not teens passed out from alcohol having fun....

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Posted

This was an unprofessional and childish thing to do, and shouldn't be tolerated.

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Posted

Although, I will say, my colleagues and I play pranks on each other all the time. Maybe they thought she had more of a sense of humour. I'd probably laugh and start plotting my revenge. If this were a random patient, fine, but it's her friends having a bit of a laugh. No harm was done... I don't see the big deal. Worst that should happen is they realise she took it wrong, apologise, take her out for lunch or something. Suing? Putting careers in jeopardy? Please. I hate that we aren't allowed to have harmless fun anymore.

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Posted

So if you work at a hospital, you are subject to pranks while unconscious and its suddenly ok and acceptable because you are an employee?  Were those prank items sterilized and suitable for an operation?

Come on, dude. You ask us to be reasonable when we are discussing medical professionals using an unconscious human being as a play thing? This is unacceptable and I can't imagine if you were the victim of it you'd have such a happy-go-lucky attitude about it.

I never said such behaviour was acceptable

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Posted

The act is on a par to bullying in the workplace and should not be tolerated in the slightest.

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