m. Right to Privacy. This right exists either by law or by custom. Hospital
charts and records, X-rays, and photographs are for use by the surgeon and other
hospital personnel who are directly concerned with that patient's care. Suits can be,
and have been, brought by patients for violation of this right. Unauthorized persons are
not permitted to observe operative procedures. Suits have been brought by patients
when unauthorized persons, out of curiosity, have been permitted to witness procedures
of interest only to professional persons.
n. Confidential Information. You have a moral and legal obligation to hold in
confidence any information gained from the patient during medical care. However, as
there is no medical privilege in the military, you may be required to divulge confidential
information upon request by proper authority.
o. Personal Property. Generally, the patient comes to the OR without
any personal property. However, you should check to make sure that the patient
has no eyeglasses, dentures, contact lenses, watches, wigs, or glass eyes that
should be removed before surgery. Be sure to follow locally prescribed procedure in
handling these articles. Be sure to obtain a receipt for any such articles when they are
given to ward personnel for safekeeping. A patient who has hair clipped owns the hair
that is removed, and you are responsible for its safekeeping also.
p. Records. Inaccurate record can be a source of legal action against the
q. Defective Equipment. Operating room specialists are responsible for
certain equipment checks. Any defect that was noticeable and remained unrepaired
has legal connotations in case of an accident. Be sure you can prove that equipment
defects were properly reported.
2-25. THE OPERATING ROOM SPECIALIST AND BEREAVEMENT
Another consideration that must be taken into account is the OR specialist's
handling of bereavement. Any person who works in a hospital may be called
upon to deal with a bereaved person. The dynamics of bereavement and grief
are essentially the same whether the loss is of a person, a limb, or simply of the powers
that make one able to maintain his normal routine. While these are the same in their
dynamics, there is obviously a variation in the depth of the experience. Whatever the
depth of loss, the OR specialist may find himself frequently in a position of helping
people cope with grief in a constructive way.