The smiling interns and their foot. The smiling interns and their foot.

Young medical interns put their foot in it

The two were dismissed after posting photo of amputated foot on Twitter

A photograph of an amputated foot has cost two medical interns their jobs at an IMSS clinic in Monterrey, Nuevo León.

In a photograph they posted on Twitter the two are seen smiling broadly as one of them displays the severed appendage.

“My first leg, dad. Forgive me if these images bother you,” was the caption accompanying the photo, which unleashed an online controversy that questioned the sensitivity and ethics of the budding physicians, employed by the Social Security Institute (Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social).

Others countered the online lynching by suggesting that an amputation was a milestone in their medical careers.

The local IMSS office was not touched by that sentiment and chose to dismiss the young women. The newspaper El Universal reported that a formal complaint has been filed.

The newspaper also interviewed a researcher from the Autonomous University of Nuevo León (Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, or UANL) who specializes in social networks.

Luis Antonio Lucio López said the case resulted from the failure of adults to teach responsible behavior and the use of new technologies to children and teenagers.

In his opinion a dedicated course should be created to instruct children at an age as early as pre-school in the safe and responsible use of the internet.

The researcher added that medical interns are part of a social-media generation that has a great need to socialize all the events of their lives in order to obtain acceptance and build an image of professional success.

An academic at the same university saw posting the picture online as a reprehensible act that reflected poor ethics and lack of respect for confidentiality.

The action also showed a lack of respect for the patient and his or her family, said Juan de Dios Sánchez Martínez, who also observed a lack of social sensitivity.

Sánchez agreed that the teaching of principles and values should be reinforced at all academic levels, having witnessed the same lack of sensitivity among crime reporters who hunt emergency rooms for shocking photographs without showing any respect for the victims or their relatives.

Still, the professor did not think that dismissing the interns or invalidating their medical licenses was the right solution. Instead, he said, it should serve as a teaching and learning opportunity, and the interns should offer an apology and undergo treatment.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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