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Doctors without morals

A number of years ago I was working in the emergency department of Richardson Medical Center in Rayville, Louisiana. A patient was dropped off by ambulance. Immediately following the drop off, the ambulance drivers left. I asked the nurses why the patient was here. No history or paperwork had been delivered with the patient and the patient did not even know where the ambulance had picked her up.

After locating the ambulance drivers again, we found out she was a local nursing home patient and the ambulance driver informed us the transfer to the hospital had been authorized by one of our local physicians so the patient could have her remaining leg amputated.

The problem was the patient was 99 years old. She was totally blind, totally deaf, diabetic who already had one leg amputated just below the knee as a complication of her diabetes. She was presented to our emergence department with dry gangrene on her remaining leg. The physician who admitted her was now going to amputate the other leg and the patient had no way to consent to any of this, including admission to the hospital.

Why on earth would a physician keep on amputating parts of a 99 year old patient? A physician who is behind on their car payments is the only reason I can imagine. What do the rest of you reading this think? Is this the treatment you would like for your mom or grandmother?

To my way of thinking, physicians such as this should be suspended from the practice of medicine.

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