A Brazilian doctor recently lost his job after allegedly prescribing chocolate ice cream and video games to a 9-year-old with a sore throat and flu-like symptoms.
On May 18th, Priscila da Silva Ramos, a 37-year-old mother from Osasco, in Greater São Paulo, took her 9-year-old child for a checkup at a state-owned clinic, after he started feeling sick and started vomiting. She claims that the doctor there was very unprofessional, asking her if she had looked at her child’s throat, but not bothering to do it himself. Instead of actually examining the minor, the unnamed doctor allegedly started writing a prescription for drugs like amoxicillin, ibuprofen, dipyrone, prednisolone, and N-acetylcysteine, as well as ice cream and daily sessions of gaming.
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“He started writing the prescription without examining my son, without looking at his throat, without examining his chest, without anything,” the outraged mother said. “Then he asked my son if he liked ice cream, he said yes. He asked if chocolate or strawberry, my son replied chocolate. But I never imagined that he wrote ice cream on the prescription. But he did prescribe the ice cream and daily sessions of the mobile video game Free Fire.”
Ramos told Brazilian journalists that she didn’t notice the ice cream and video game sessions on the prescription until the next day, when the boy’s aunt looked at the prescription and was surprised by the last two lines at the bottom. The two sisters decided to post the unusual prescription on Facebook, where it quickly went viral.
Social media reactions to the doctor’s prescription were mixed, with some agreeing that they had been unprofessional, and others arguing that he had only added the ice cream and gaming on the prescription as a joke. Lawyer Henderson Furst, president of the Bioethics Commission of the Brazilian Bar Association, São Paulo section, said that some doctors do things like this to humanize the relationship with their patients.
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“Some doctors who have a practice of humanizing the relationship by making prescriptions that contain some things out of the ordinary, but which represent an act of humanization in that relationship,” Furst said. “I’ve seen a prescription, for example, where the doctor said ‘take care, you’re special, hug more’.”
Unfortunately for the doctor, the controversy surrounding his prescription was enough to cost him his job within the Brazilian public health network. According to the City Hall of Osasco, the physician had been dismissed from its service provider framework. As for the child’s mother, she hopes that this case will improve medical care in the city.