The film “Wit” shed light on events that sadly do occur in a hospital setting. Doctors, nurses, and other staff members in the midst of work, forget that their patients are human. In the beginning of the film, Vivian Bearing, a professor is diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancers which are metastasizing. (Later in the film Vivian admits she had not gone to the doctor in five years, that is contributory negligence on her part. ) Her doctor, Dr. Kalekian, very coldly tells informs her of her diagnoses. Speaking to her, he sounds egotistical and arrogant. He does not even mention her prognosis.
He asks if she would be interested in taking part of a research project. She would be required to take full doses of chemotherapy and medications. It would be “tough”, but it was the “the most effective treatment modality”. She signs the informed consent just minutes after hearing such heavy news. I questioned her autonomy. She was not informed that a physical was required. She learns that the resident that will be examining her is in fact a former student of hers. After being left spread eagle on an examination table with no dignity and the absence of a female nurse, (even with professional autonomy, a female nurse must be present).
I recall resident Jason Posner stating bedside manners were a “colossal waste of time for researchers”. After female nurse is present he openly discusses his experience in her class during the exam. Feeling the mass he yells “Jesus! ” this is highly lacked professionalism. The experiment was in patient, so Grand Rounds were made, where students took notes on the subject being researched. Vivian accepts the utilitarian justification of training young physicians and the necessity of putting up with the accompanying irritation and discomforts. Dr. Kalekian not once spoke to Vivian about hospice. When Vivian says “Let it stop”, they put her down as a DNR, even then, Dr. Kalekian didn’t come to discuss her prognosis or her code status. If perhaps the imminence of death was discussed with her, she may not have even participated in the study. Dr, Kalekian purposely did not give light on that subject due to his selfishness. He wanted to keep her alive longer for data purposes. That is reflects egoism on his part. Perhaps he may not have wanted to tell her that she was going to die because he didn’t want to scare her.
That would be paternalistic. Vivian is aware of this as she states “I think they foresee celebrity status for themselves upon the journal article they will no doubt write about me. ” There was lack of autonomy for Vivian. Non-malificance was not taken into consideration for poor Vivian as she was put through such turmoil. Benificence was unheard of in this film. Ironically, Vivian now realizes how it may have felt for her students while being in her class because she too was cold hearted. But being in such a state, she longs for someone to care for her as a person.
Susie the nurse shows some compassion towards Vivian and hints her towards changing her code status to DNR, knowing the Dr. Kalekian and Jason will not like it. The nurses’ moral ethics wouldn’t allow her to watch Vivian suffer without her knowing that she didn’t have to continue. It was absolutely disgusting; the egoism on the part of Jason Posner when he finds Vivian unconscious and calls a code, unaware that she was a DNR. When Susie screams to cancel she was disregarded. “She’s DNR! ” she shouts. “She’s research! ” he shouts back. And apparently, that’s all she was to him, not human… just research.