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Surgeons caught playing a sick “Price is Right” guessing-game with the internal organs of anaesthetised patients have sparked an investigation.
The operating theatre staff are all employees of Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in the US.
A series of sick Instagram photos show them lifting body parts from patients and inviting co-workers to guess how much they weighed.
In one of the posts, which was uploaded to the now-deleted @grandrapids_obgyn_residency account, which was run by a group of trainee obstetrics and gynecology specialists, a doctor can be seen holding up an organ which had been removed in a cancer operation.
“The other game we play in the (operating room) is guess that weight,” the caption read. “It applies to much more than just babies. As always, ‘Price is Right’ rules apply, so if you go over, then you’re out!”
A second post showed a doctor holding a mass of human tissue as they stand next to a patient on an operating table.
“Longest one wins! Good work,” the caption said.
The Spectrum Health group, which operates 14 hospitals across the region, released a statement on March 14 which stressed that patient confidentiality was paramount.
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“We were shocked and dismayed when we learned that surgical images were posted on an Instagram account not officially connected to Spectrum Health that was used by a group of medical residents,” the statement said.
“This unacceptable behaviour does not in any way reflect our organisation, the outstanding professionalism of our medical staff or our resident physicians-in-training.
“We are actively and comprehensively investigating this unfortunate incident,” the statement continued. “These posts do not follow our code of excellence, our values or our expectations for team member behaviour.
"We deeply value the trust that our patients have in us, and we work to strengthen this bond every day,” the hospital spokesperson added.
Arthur Caplan, a professor of medical ethics at the New York University Grossman School of Medicine, told the New York Times that social media posts of this type see the doctors being struck off.
“It certainly is a serious breach of ethics,” he said. “There’s absolutely no excuse for turning something that should be serious and treated with respect into a kind of silly carnival.”
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