Oh those whacky ER docs. On the one hand it is absolutely the funniest job one could ever have. On the other, it attracts some of the zanier members of a profession already famous for its eccentrics.
Consider one Dr. John Henry Hagmann, late of the U.S. Army where he trained soldiers in caring for battlefield wounds before retiring as a lieutenant colonel. Hagmann had practiced emergency medicine for over 20 years, and founded Deployment Medicine International, which has since received more than 10.5 million in federal business. His training methods – using live, wounded pigs to simulate battlefield wounds – have earned the enmity of animal rights activists. But as we say in the ER, that ain’t the funny part.
No, the funny part is the 59 year old Hagmann now being investigated by the Virginia Board of Medicine authorities for using students as training objects, including allegations of:
- Plying at least 10 students with ketamine.
- Having students insert penile catheters into each other
- Performing penile blocks on two inebriated students. When other students stepped in to prevent a second intoxicated student from receiving the procedure, the report says, Hagmann volunteered himself, and students performed a penile nerve block on him.
- Running “shock labs,” during which he withdrew blood from the students, monitored them for shock, and then transfused the blood back into their systems.
Hagmann’s license has been suspended pending a hearing on June 19. He has responded: “The mechanisms and protocols utilized in the training all comply with standard practices for training medical students and are, in fact, utilized in medical schools in Virginia.” (Author’s note: I was raised in Virginia, in a medical family. For a time we lived on a farm, but had no pigs, and never, ever any ketamine, at least, not that I can recall.) Hagmann said that the Virginia board is applying the wrong standard in assessing his conduct: He said that his trainees are “students,” not “patients” as the board calls them, and therefore he may have them perform procedures on one another as part of the educational process.
- “In one case detailed by investigators … Hagmann boasted to a student “about his proficiency with rectal exams” and took the student to a warehouse on his property.” Stop right there! Who the hell goes to “the warehouse” with someone who just bragged about his rectal technique??
There, the report claims, the two “continued to consume beer” and Hagmann asked the student “about the effect (the student’s) uncircumcised penis had on masturbation and sexual intercourse.” The student told investigators “that he was inebriated and felt that he could not refuse Dr. Hagmann’s request … to examine, manipulate and photograph his penis.” (Author’s note: on second thought, I was never, ever in Virginia for any reason. My previous recollection was just a typo).
“Hagmann connected his comments on circumcision to his live-tissue trauma training course this way: “The debate on the value and impact of circumcision is a current medical and social issue. The historical link between circumcision and masturbation is a fact dating since Victorian England and is still a current topic subject to scientific research.” How self-abusive does masturbation have to be to be included in live-tissue trauma training??
The Virginia medical board report also says Hagmann conducted “ketamine labs,” “alcohol labs,” and “cognition labs … involved the dosing of ketamine and consumption of alcohol, at times in combination or in quick succession.” Participants drank eight shots of rum in 10 minutes. About an hour later, they were allegedly injected with ketamine so that Hagmann could assess the cognitive effects of these substances.
Apart from my usual, richly deserved attacks on most of what the federal government does including subsidizing this (alleged) lunatic, I have to ask: what sort of student would subject themselves to this idiocy or, if they are lying, be willing to claim they did?