Should patients be made to be treated or examined in the prescence of student drs or nurses
Personal privacy is a precious need for many patients. Patients in hospital should not feel that they belong to any given hospital. Likewise, they should not feel they belong to any GP or Social Service etc.,
I believe to make or coerce a patient into allowing others to be present if not necessary is assault and contrary to human rights and professional standards. The same considerations should exist even when a patient is in Theatre.
I copied your question and put it in a tweet last week - sorry, nobody has commented on Twitter.
I think I agree with you - and I found your 'Patients in hospital should not feel that they belong to any given hospital' line really interesting. I've made a comment along those lines (pages 9/10) in my PDF at:
In ‘The Sound of Silence’ (in ‘Naming Death’), we have the situation of a wife
who knows she is dying but thinks her husband doesn’t know, while the
husband knows his wife is dying but thinks his wife doesn’t know. Which – as
Kathryn makes clear - ‘is a very ‘unhappy situation’’. But my point is a
different one: Kathryn uses the ‘his wife is my patient’ description, whereas I much prefer ‘you are my wife’s doctor’.
However, if all patients refused, it would then be quite difficult to train nurses and doctors, wouldn't it? You are definitely correct with 'coercion is wrong'.
I had a situation like this years ago. I spoke to the wife first who was my patient and was terminally ill with cancer. With her consent I then spoke to her husband. Then we all got together in her room, I sat between them both holding one of their hands in one of mine and then gradually moved their hands so they were touching one another and left them after a moment. Yes there were silences and tears. But the patient had given her consent for me to talk to her husband, if that consent had been withheld they would not have had the same goodbye.