Do Doctors and Nurses Gossip About Their Patients?

Let's face it.All humans are flawed. Wanted to know if it is actually common practice for doctors/nurses to gossip/discuss about their patients. When patients comes in looking very nice and pretty, would the doctors/nurses start to speculate whether she has had something done to her face or body elsewhere ? People share and speak to family/friends about their work, so i believe doctors/nurses do so as well. But would discussion of such compromise the patients' privacy ?

Doctor Answers (5)

Do Doctors and Nurses Gossip About Their Plastic Surgery Patients?

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Regarding:  "Do Doctors and Nurses Gossip About Their Patients?

Let's face it.All humans are flawed. Wanted to know if it is actually common practice for doctors/nurses to gossip/discuss about their patients. When patients comes in looking very nice and pretty, would the doctors/nurses start to speculate whether she has had something done to her face or body elsewhere ? People share and speak to family/friends about their work, so i believe doctors/nurses do so as well. But would discussion of such compromise the patients' privacy ?"

Patient privacy and their trust is in me taken extremely serious in my office. Their information is ONLY discussed on a "Need to Know Basis" - if you do not need to know - you are not going to be told and if you try to find out or worse yet divulge it elsewhere, you WILL be fired.

As regards speculating about a particular patient's previous surgery - I do NOT want to speculate anything about my patients history. I am not here to judge them one way or another. I am here to safeguard my patients and try to get the best outcomes for them.  If I am to be their surgeon, for their safety, I NEED to know their entire medical history. Without it, I can potentially hurt a patient. If the patient is selective in the information they share with me, I am limited in what I can do for them.

As is obvious from your question and similar ones I was asked through the years, to the uninitiated Plastic surgery offices may seem like the version of "Plastic Surgery" portrayed on the TV show NIP N TUCK - a pit of gossip, sex, insecurity and bizarre surgery. That is NOT what Plastic Surgery is.

I see people from all walks of life everyday; The vast majority are pleasant people who I love helping. When my day is over and the paperwork is done,I look forward to interacting with my family, my pets, my computer and my books and I have no desire to discuss my patients' issues with anyone regardless of how titillating it may be.  Boring, maybe, But much more satisfying.

Dr. Peter Aldea


Memphis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 66 reviews

Gossip between medical staff

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Gossiping among medical professionals regarding patients is not acceptable.  While some information is disseminated to discuss medical care under the appropriate HIPAA guidelines, gossip is not acceptable.

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

One man's medical history may be another man's "gossip"

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What you may consider "gossip" may be perftinent medical information. All too frequently, I see patients who for some reason "forget" to put down in their medical history that they had a previous facelift when they come to me for a facelift consult. While I take them at their word, it is somewhat surprising and I will often pass up operating because they have omitted a very pertinent portion of the history which is immediately relevant and will impact the outcome of any subsequent treatment. To respond to your question, why would a patient omit a previous treatment form the history? IF they include this, then it frees the medical staff from having to guess and as you might label it "gossip."

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Do we gossip about our patients?

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Anon asks: "Let's face it.All humans are flawed. Wanted to know if it is actually common practice for doctors/nurses to gossip/discuss about their patients. When patients comes in looking very nice and pretty, would the doctors/nurses start to speculate whether she has had something done to her face or body elsewhere ? People share and speak to family/friends about their work, so i believe doctors/nurses do so as well. But would discussion of such compromise the patients' privacy ?"

Interesting question!  First, as a plastic surgeon, I have no reason to speculate whether a patient of mine has had prior surgery done elsewhere.  I expect that the patient has given me that information as part of her past medical history, so I shouldn't have to wonder or guess.  And that medical history is not something I would disclose to anyone else unless the other person had a valid reason to know it (in accordance with HIPAA Privacy rules). 

However, we do see very interesting people with compelling stories.  Of course we talk about these things, but not so much like "gossip", more like "listen-to-this-interesting-part-of-my-day".  Names are not disclosed, of course, and nothing that would identify a patient is disclosed in such conversation.

Carmen Kavali, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Plastic Surgery Privacy

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In my practice, patient privacy is of the utmost importance. The team of medical professionals I work with are people I trust - and who have signed very stringent employee policies including privacy policies that are enforced even after they discontinue working with me.

It is important that a patient disclose all previous surgery. So, if you are considering surgery with a plastic surgeon and you have had previous surgery elsewhere, it is imperative that you disclose this information for your own safety.

One issue about plastic surgery and gossiping that I find troubling is the trend of plastic surgeons being interviewed about celebrity plastic surgery and speculating about whether or not a celebrity had had something "done"   This is not only tasteless, it is the surest way to determine whether or not a surgeon has operated on high profile people.

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.