Physican Profanity

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about profanity:

Is it misconduct if a physician uses profanity (FUCK) over and over in my office visit?

Signed, Not Patient with Doctor

DearĀ Not Patient with Doctor:

The F word is offensive to you and probably to some others. The Federal Communication Commission has ruled it out for public television and networks. The American Medical Association and state licensing and disciplinary authorities have established policies against sexual contact between physicians and their patients. However, a word meaning sexual intercourse is not sexual contact. In semantic terms: the word is not the thing. Your question implies you disapprove of your doctor’s frequent use of the word fuck and you would like to have him reprimanded for that. Is that possible?

Possibly, he might be disciplined if you and/or others complain to a local association that employs him or you can register your disapproval on Internet sites that list him.One such site appears committed to concerns such as yours: Medical Patient Modesty is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that promotes stronger patient modesty http://www.patientmodesty.org/ . This organization doesn’t describe its sponsors, but it lists physicians accused of sexual misconduct. The issue is this: how strongly do you object to his use of this four letter word? You have several options listed above and you also can request that he not use that language in your presence or you can change doctors.

Yet another option that you might consider is to reframe how you feel and react to such language. Might you see it as just an overuse of profanity that is part of your doctor’s vocabulary? Might you weigh his language against the quality of his medical care of you and decide four-letters don’t adversely affect that? In short, you have some choices before you that are cultural and ethical: cultural in that fuck has become part of your doctor’s speech; ethical in that complaining about that could harm his practice when he is doing good work. What will you decide?

I am interested in learning how you react to my thoughts. My signature sentence that you probably have seen if you have scanned our archives suggests that each of us should care for the good name and welfare of others. That is to say: Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS suggests that reaches beyond to customers. In your case it suggests that the client/physician relationship should be one of respect and care forĀ  each other.

William Gorden