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Joke between 2 paramedics shows why professionalism is necessary

When Schenectady residents see a doctor, they have every right to expect professional treatment. This is not always the case, however. In some instances, doctors, nurses and others in the medical profession have been found to treat patients with disrespect and sometimes outright derision. What they might think of as a harmless joke while a patient is under anesthesia is not only unprofessional, but could be devastating to the patients if they find out how they have been treated while they are unable to defend themselves.

Recently, two paramedics in Florida received felony charges, as well as lost their jobs, over dozens of unprofessional photographs they sent each other while on the job. Authorities said that the two, who were engaging in a friendly "selfie war," sent each other about 41 pictures while posing next to ambulance patients. The patients were usually sedated, unconscious or otherwise incapacitated. In one reported instance, a patient was partially nude. In addition to the felonies, one paramedic was charged with misdemeanor battery, and both may face time in prison.

While people in any profession should act maturely when dealing with clients, medical professionals are often held to a higher standard because of the nature of their job. When they engage in crass pranks, horseplay or other actions that are either witnessed by or affect patients, serious consequences can result. A patient may suffer physical harm or be humiliated and emotionally distressed. It is not unreasonable for a patient to seek compensation if he or she was the unwilling recipient of a medical professional's childish joke.

Source: The Washington Post, "A ‘sick, juvenile’ game: Florida paramedics snapped selfies with unconscious patients for fun, police say," Ben Guarino, July 22, 2016

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