Would You Be Comfortable With Doctors and Nurses Taking Selfies While You Were in Surgery?

Would You Be Comfortable With Doctors and Nurses Taking Selfies While You Were in Surgery?

The selfie is now a widely accepted way of saying: "look, I'm doing something cool!" That being said, there are times when it's reasonable to take a selfie and times when it might be better to put the phone away. Would you feel comfortable with your doctors and nurses taking them while you were laying on the operating table?

Last month, a new surgical center opened in Niš, Serbia, with some of the first procedures occurring recently. This was documented in a most unusual way: doctors and nurses took selfies and posted them while in the middle of surgeries.

For me, there are three main issues. First, the patient is in an obviously compromised position and can't consent to being part of the image. Second, while I don't know if the phones were disinfected, cell phones are notorious for being mobile germ dens (seriously, prepare to be grossed out if you look it up), and given that operating rooms are supposed to be sterile, well, you can see the issue. Third, and perhaps most important, if my body is literally being cut open and operated on, I'd kind of prefer the people doing it to focus on that. It's the same reason we have the sterile cockpit rule in aviation. Of course, cultural norms of etiquette and procedures always lag behind technological advances, but this seems like common sense to me. 

So, while some jobs are conducive to selfies, I don't think brain surgery is one of them. What do you think? Let us know in the poll and comments below.

Lead image by Pixabay user sasint, used under Creative Commons.

[via DIY Photography]

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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I’m a consultant in anaesthesia and intensive care medicine in the UK.

Doing this here would be grounds for instant dismissal, and probably any doctor or nurse would be erased from their professional register and prevented from working in healthcare again. It might also attract a criminal charge of voyeurism if exposed patient was caught in the shot.

Theatre should be focused on the patient and not on narcissism.

It is very unusual that I agree with a lay article on standards for doctors, but here I agree with the author. This is unacceptable behaviour.

Post surgery for personal use may be okay. No photos during surgery !! No photos of the patient !! PRIVACY !

Didn't Joan Rivers doctor or nurse take a selfie and look what happened to her.

as long they # me in it i'm cool with it. people are too uptight these days.

Surprised you have even heard of HIPPA, as you don't sound even remotely competent.

Oh my gosh, this is a hard one. As long as it didn't distract from the procedure.. but who would know if it did.. I think it's too serious to be taking selfies. It's not like a photoshoot

After spending thousands of hours watching surgery (providing anesthesia) it gets a little old. As a general rule an operating room works as a team and everyone knows when to pay attention. Most OR staff know the surgery so well they can tell you what is happening without looking. I think it is quite clear that obesity and health choices (smoking, alcohol, drugs) are far more deadly than one of us snapping a photo of ourselves.