Why You Shouldn't Bring Your Mom to the Hospital When You're Having Dick Surgery

You’re thirty-something years old, and as far as I know, don’t live in Mom’s basement. (I didn’t independently verify this.) You’re coming to an outpatient-surgery facility to have a minor adjustment made to your penis. Your trouble: the thing hurts when erect. It’s understandable that you might not want to share the details of this problem with your mother.

SO WHY THE F&%K WOULD YOU BRING HER TO THE HOSPITAL WITH YOU??? Do you not have a Significant Other — who is already presumably familiar with the nuances of your schlong — or a friend, who won’t want to hear about it, but will drive you to and fro anyway, and probably give you some grief about it — to handle transportation and immediate post-procedure supervision? For god’s sake, man, use your head (the one attached to your neck, presumably containing whatever brains you were allotted)!

These days in medicine, we are rated by our “consumers” (that’s you) on various components of “patient satisfaction”. One of those components is “respect for privacy”. I was recently severely down-rated on this point by the above-described patient. He was taken aback that I — so he thought — discussed his penis problem in extensive detail in front of his mother, and that I should have asked Mom to go to the waiting room first.

A couple of problems with this. First of all, I became an anesthesiologist precisely so I would never have to discuss a man’s dick issues with him. As an anesthesiologist, I am primarily concerned with the command-and-control aspects of pecker management: the heart that pumps blood to it; the lungs that provide it with oxygen; and the brain that manages its hydraulics. In most cases, I don’t even have to look at it. That’s fine with me; seen one, you’ve seen ‘em all. So I am certain I never discussed the man’s unit, with or without his Moms in the cubicle.

His urological surgeon, however, did just that, in great detail, in said cubicle, with Moms sitting right there. That’s entirely proper and correct. But what about HIPAA, you ask? Privacy, blah, blah, blah? HIPAA expressly allows us to discuss intimate medical matters in front of anyone the patient allows to be present. In other words, it’s not OUR job to kick Moms to the waiting room — it’s YOURS. So if you don’t want her to hear about the pustulent chancre that is consuming your manhood, ASK HER TO WAIT IN THE WAITING ROOM. And honestly, what kind of Mother wouldn’t have figured this out herself, and decamped to the holding area, where the burnt-petroleum coffee and outdated magazines live?

So I got dinged because this patient couldn’t figure out that I was his anesthesiologist, not his surgeon. And the dinging was done because he lacked the stones to tell Moms to beat it (uh, sorry, bad euphemism) while he and the Doc discussed private matters.

Good Lord, people, does common sense enter into this at any point?

Michael Sebastian @mikeseb