Sunday, January 23, 2011

“Sparks” are Still Flying….

Some issues stay alive simply because of the human condition. Others are slowly beaten to death, and then resurrected by new champions. And there are those whose passion seems to invoke a life of their own: filled with players at odds and unrelenting.
Then there are those issues that embody all three.
The story of Twana Sparks, an ENT in Silver City NM, seems to be one of those anomalies. Just when the controversy seems to ebb, it bobs back to the surface for redress when new opinions flare. Like it or not, and many do not, the debate storms on.
Sparks was accused of performing non-authorized genital exams on male patients without consent and while they were under anesthesia. While denying any wrongdoing, she did sign an agreed order with the Medical Board which outlines the ‘conditions which Sparks must comply with in order to continue practicing’. Some of those conditions include regular therapy sessions with a psychotherapist, polygraph exams every four months, and not performing any genital, rectal or breasts exams for any reason.
A few minutes spent traveling the blog-o-sphere will find numerous comments from both sides of the exam table, including the paper’s own comment section with over 300 comments to date. (See news story and comments) Here we find posters who regale Sparks with praise as an ‘otherwise’ trusted ENT, and others who believe her license should have been revoked. (Of course there’s some off-topic chatter from those who simply must speak to any occasion available, so be prepared for a few odd forays into weirdness.) All in all, what is interesting are the amount of people willing to acknowledge the possibility of abuse yet ignore it as a sort of collateral damage. Whether guilty or not, in their eyes the risk is worth her care.
So I have to wonder….why are people prepared to give up personal integrity in order to receive expected services? What makes some patients passive participants, either not caring or not wanting to know what happens to their bodies? Why do some find quality care and ethical treatment mutually exclusive?
Medical care already has monetary costs; does it need to have ethical costs as well? The truth is that it doesn’t. While my definition of respectful care may be different than others, most of us will probably agree that abuse is not a characterization of respectful care. Those who wish to sweep the Sparks controversy under the rug are ignorantly harming those who have trust and faith in the ethics of the medical system. Letting one doctor get away with abuse keeps the door open to the passive attitude that allows any doctor to get away with abuse.
Whatever truth lies in the Sparks controversy, no one should be willing (and ready) to trade respect for healthcare. One should certainly not believe that under anesthesia the body cannot be humiliated. No doubt many are wondering if they were part of a childish game led by a person who has no boundaries or moral compass. They may never really know, and certainly that is the scattered bones of abuse.
Hopefully the spotlight will remain on issues such as these, by a few champion posters, until ethics catches up with expectations.

© Suzy Furno-Maricle 2011


At January 24, 2011 at 11:36 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What bothers me are the amount of people who stood by and watched patients being abused and said nothing! These people should face consequenses as well. Are they so afraid of losing a job that they overlook abuse? I wonder how they would act if they saw teachers abusing children or ministers abusing parishoners. It has to end somewhere.


At January 25, 2011 at 12:59 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was about to let you have it for participating in the Sparks thing but you did make some new points after all about people who let doctors get away with things and so continues on.
Have no answers but I like the scattered bones referance.


At April 6, 2011 at 9:46 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What really bothers me is that if a man physician did the same thing he would have and should have been listed a s a sex offender. I feel that an offender is an offender no matter the gender of such person.

At January 16, 2012 at 7:05 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now more doctors won't think much about doing the same thing she did because now they know they probably will get nothing more than a slap on the wrist when caught. They need to believe their career would be over and they would face criminal charges. What a joke our legal system can be sometimes.

At February 27, 2015 at 4:22 AM , Blogger Olaniyan Adefumi said...

My name is Olaniyan Adefumi, my email address is

I want to take the City of Philadelphia Health Department to court because of bad nudity practices by a female doctor, Sharon LIm, who screamed at me to take off my underpants so she could examine a rash that was on my left leg's thigh but not underneath my underpants. She could of saw it without touching my scrotum for twenty-eight to thirty-eight minutes. Also, she did not give me a robe but had me nude with no cloths on but my socks for many minutes as she touched my private parts. Help! Soon!.

At January 29, 2016 at 8:02 AM , Blogger Maud Kennedy said...

The same goes for nasty remarks supposed to be humor that happen everyday everywhere.
Surgical teams feel allowed to say whatever they want and get away with it because even if patients hear what's said they don't have proof.
That's amazing how many people give OR teams a free pass.

At September 28, 2016 at 8:11 AM , Anonymous Ernesto Ibáñez said...

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Thanks for sharing your knowledge. God bless you.

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