Doctor has been suspended after video of intense stand-off with patient goes viral
Anyone who isn't a doctor can only imagine the stressful life they lead. After all, it's not every job that you literally have people's lives in your hands.
However, although medical professionals are wise in the ways of medicine, it's true that many of them could do with some further training in sympathy and compassion. This was made all the more obvious when a video of a Silicon Valley emergency room doctor berating a basketball player for suffering an anxiety attack went viral recently.
Samuel Bardwell, aged 20, a newly-enrolled student at West Valley College in Saratoga, was rushed to El Camino Hospital in nearby Los Gatos after suffering a severe anxiety attack and passing out following the school's first summer basketball workout on June 11.
However, rather than taking his illness seriously, he was met with disdain and verbal abuse from Dr. Beth Keegstra. The 57-year-old was caught on camera by Samuel's father, who uploaded the footage to Facebook, gaining more than four million views.
In the video, Dr Keggstra orders the 20-year-old - who claims he waited for three hours in the emergency room before being treated - to "Sit up, sit up, sit up! I'm having you sit up!"
When the six-foot-nine basketball player tells her that he can't get up, the doctor responds: "I'm sorry, sir, you were the least sick of all the people who are here, who are dying. There, so you picked your head up. Now don’t try to tell me you can't move. C'mon, sit up."
Next, Samuel tells his doctor that he can't inhale and feels pain and numbness, to which the medical professional replies mockingly, saying: "He can't inhale! Wow! He must be dead. Are you dead, sir? I don't understand, you are breathing just fine."
As the tension between the pair reaches an all-time high, Keegstra accuses her patient of changing his story about why he is seeking treating, naming him as "full of s***!", adding "you have changed your story every f***ing time".
In a separate Facebook post, Samuel's father, Donald Bardwell, revealed his son had a history of anxiety attacks and takes Klonopin, a sedative that treats panic disorder. He explained his son had stopped taking his medication several days before he was hospitalized because his prescription had run out and he hadn't had time to refill it.
Samuel himself added on GMA that he had asked his father to videotape the confrontation after he saw Keegstra speaking to a security guard in the emergency room and eyeing him suspiciously, stating: "I knew from when she said something to the security guard ... I already knew from that point ... I said, 'Please, dad, can you please take out your phone? ... I need you to take out your phone now cause I have a feeling something is gonna happen."
After the footage went viral, El Camino Hospital CEO Dan Woods said in a statement online that the physician in question - who came from healthcare staff provider Vituity - had been removed from her position.
The statement read: "This week, a patient who visited the emergency department at our Los Gatos campus had an interaction with a physician whose demeanor was unprofessional and not the standard we require of all who provide care through El Camino Hospital. We have expressed our sincere apologies and are working directly with the patient on this matter. Please know that we take this matter very seriously and the contracted physician involved has been removed from the work schedule, pending further investigation."
Woods added the interaction is "not reflective" of the care provided to patients.