Not for the weak of stomach

Warning: this is an extremely disturbing video. It’s of an unpleasant and rather personal surgery, in which a man had a can of perfumed body spray stuck in a certain orifice, requiring a medical extraction. The circumstances and the graphic operation are distressing enough, but what’s most horrifying are the medical staff — the room is packed with non-essential personnel who are laughing uproariously and mocking the patient, and of course, there’s the other inappropriate circumstance, that someone taped this and then uploaded it to youtube. Keep that in mind if you’re ever hospitalized in the Philippines, and find yourself in Vicente Sotto Memorial Hospital; you may leave to discover your privates are now public.

The hospital seems to be responding in the appropriate way, with censure and warnings, and there is a possibility some of those involved may lose their licenses. I can’t say as much for the Catholic church in the Philippines — the archbishop is blaming the victim, instead.

The whole thing is a ghastly breach of medical ethics, and the church is compounding the problem…but isn’t that supposed to be one of those mythical virtues of religion, that they have a hotline to morality?


  1. Mooser says

    Any prelate who does not immediately see the correspondence between that can of body spray and the sword which pierced the crucified Christ’s side, isn’t worth his weight in Communion wafers.
    But at least nobody made fun of the crucified Saviour, or drew lots for His clothes.

  2. Russell says

    Without trying to defend a priest, let me point out that there’s nothing necessarily wrong with people criticizing those who cause themselves injury in various ways. Now, yes, those providing medical care have an ethical obligation to do that in a fashion that doesn’t leak out to the public, and to restrict any criticism to advice that benefits the patient’s health.

    But the rest of us are not under the same obligation. The Philippines (note, PZ, one l, and three p’s) is the place where very Easter, there are devotees who have themselves nailed to crosses. I don’t violate some ethical boundary when I call them religious nuts, or post about it on a blog. The physician treating such a devotee in the hospital has different obligations toward that individual, requiring more circumspection.

  3. says

    Having heard all about this video, and agreeing with you that it is horrifyingly unprofessional, I intentionally did NOT view it. Doesn’t it occur to anyone that continuing to link to it — even while hotly jumping up and down about how awful it is — is just the tiniest bit hypocritical?

  4. craig says

    Didn’t watch either, the description is enough. As far as criticism of the guy, at least his motives were a little more normal and rational. Trying to get your rocks off is sane enough – the method he chose was just a little extreme.

  5. craig says

    More normal and rational than flagellating yourself for jeebus, I should have said.

  6. Dennis N says

    Leave it to the church to blame the victim. What if it was a female prostitute who put the can up there? I don’t think the Bible has any thing specific against that.

  7. watercat says

    The bishop actually said “They’re made that way…” WTF? Is this now the official catholic position?

  8. Alicia P says

    The title of the video included the word “scandal”. I think it was put up in an attempt to out the people on it.

    There were so many people in there with cameras! How horrifying!

  9. says

    The popish witch doctor said:

    Dakay said that while the church is not condemning homosexuals, it will not tolerate homosexual acts.

    This is, I think, mutatis mutandis pretty much what a civilised person’s view of the RC religion would be: one doesn’t condemn catholics, but one does not tolerate catholic acts.

    The witch doctor pisses me off more than do the surgical staff, actually. The surgeons: offensive, stupid, fratboyish. The operative term in the last sentence is “surgeons”.

  10. Elisabeth Goodman says

    I would like to request that you remove the link to the video from your post. By posting a link to the video, you are contributing to the invasion of this man’s privacy. Even if it is the hospital’s fault the video was made in the first place, it doesn’t make it ok for you to spread it around the internet.

  11. Helioprogenus says

    Let’s be fair here, although the Church’s response is expected, considering their stupid and archaic dogmatic beliefs, and the fact that this private procedure should have been kept as such, the guy allowed someone to stick a can of spray up his rectum. I’m not letting the hospital or the church off the hook, but let’s keep this in perspective, the guy is a fucking moron. My sympathies to his plight are very limited. I’m sorry that his private embarrassment has become public to a world-wide audience, and also, sorry that his privacy was violated, but he’s a fucking idiot. If some moron decided to jump 15 moving vehicles on his skateboard and shoddily built ramp and almost certain failed, although I would feel a twang of sympathy for his injuries, I still would think he was an idiot and had to accept the consequences. As drunk as you are, if you shove a can of body spray into your anal cavity then you have to deal with the consequences. If I rob a convenience store and end up in jail, big surprise there.

    I think there are certainly more noteworthy events in the world to sympathize and empathize with. Some asshole shoving a can up his…. asshole, is not someone who’s going to garner my sympathies. In the same light though, I do think all the medical staff should have to suffer their own version of the consequences for violating this idiot’s privacy.

  12. Kirk says

    OK, who wants to bet that the guy is actually a Priest and the “Male Prostitute” is actually a choir boy?

  13. MAJeff, OM says

    the guy allowed someone to stick a can of spray up his rectum. I’m not letting the hospital or the church off the hook, but let’s keep this in perspective, the guy is a fucking moron.

    The lesson: use something with a base.

  14. Canuck says

    I didn’t look at that video. I don’t need those images in my head. As an atheist who completely supports what you are doing on this blog, and one who has no issue with gays (lots of gay friends and colleagues), I have to say that in this case I think the medical staff, the archbishop, and the “victim” are all fucked up. For different reasons.

    I love sex, and I guess I get more pleasure out of that than almost anything in my life (just ask my wife how much I’m after her to get into her pants). But I’ve never put a gerbil up my ass, or put my dick in a vacuum cleaner to get a thrill (we’ve bought, well, you know, conventional sex toys). Irrespective of sexual orientation, it seems that one has to use a bit of common sense when shoving things up their bodily orifices. I can’t imagine the circumstances that would make me shove a can of body spray up my ass.

    But given that someone has done that, it’s wrong to photograph the surgery and post it on the internet. And the archbishop is no better than the medical staff. So in this case, three wrongs don’t make a right. Who knew?

    I do sometimes wonder about my gay brethren though. I have never had the urge to shove up my ass some of the things they shove up their asses. It kind of strains common sense. They make beads and stuff to give the thrill, and hey, they work. FSM knows we’ve used them. But stuff that is ill shaped for your orifice? Crazy. I’ve read of people who shoved lightbulbs up their ass. So how nicely do you bleed when that breaks.

    I’m not freaked out about this because it’s got sex, or it’s gay, or anything other than the fact that it’s just fucking insane to shove stuff up your ass (of if you’re female, your vagina) if it’s not really meant to be there. I’m thinking that body spray cans aren’t in that category. I need to bleach my eyeballs now.

  15. Maureen Lycaon says

    Agreed, with Canuck at #16 — except to point out that it’s possible some of these men aren’t homosexual or at least don’t think of themselves as homosexual.

    We live in a world where dozens of manufacturers around the world produce thousands of different sex toys for anal play, most of them reasonably safe, many of them even made of “jelly” plastic to reduce the possibility of tearing the rectum. And still people turn up in emergency rooms with things crammed up there that were never meant to go there, like bottles and light bulbs. What kind of moron, even a drunk moron, thinks it’s a great idea to shove a light bulb up your ass?

  16. Carlie says

    We live in a world where dozens of manufacturers around the world produce thousands of different sex toys for anal play, most of them reasonably safe, many of them even made of “jelly” plastic to reduce the possibility of tearing the rectum.

    And we (USAans) live in a country where the buying and/or selling of those sex toys is illegal in several states, so even here in the ‘land of the free’ it’s not particularly easy to know about or obtain such objects. I can only imagine that in the Philippines, where the official attitude towards sex has led to restrictions such that abortion is illegal even for ectopic pregnancies until after they rupture, that safe sex toys are not easily obtainable. Yet another side effect of a repressive society, that people will resort to using spray cans for their sexual thrills because they can’t get anything more suitable.

  17. Laurence says

    PZ – although I’ve been reading your blog regularly for about a year now I’ve never posted before. I guess I’m just not that interactive a kind of a person.

    I’ve got agree with some of the other posters here; by linking to that video you are further invading this guy’s privacy. I agree with you that it was inappropriate for the staff to film it and inappropriate for them to upload it, but it’s also inappropriate for us to view it. It’s not as if there’s some overriding public interest here – just a dumb guy with a can up his ass. I really think you should remove the link.

    That aside, I think this blog is one of the best things on the net, and I stop by here most days, so I don’t want to be to complainy. Cheers.

  18. Bjørn Østman says

    How can the mere action of watching something be inappropriate? Should we also not watch movies of concentration camps, etc. etc.?

    As the text on youtube says, it is posted not to ridicule the patient, but to expose those other asses in the room who are laughing at another person’s misfortune, and documenting the whole thing at the same time. I agree they should all be fired.

  19. Prazzie says

    I have no objection to PZ sharing the link. I imagine that if he hadn’t, I’d be perusing video clips of male anuses being stretched, you know, for confirmation of the horror, nay, the “extreme disturbance”. The internet being what it is, I would have been here for a long time.

  20. Bride of Shrek says

    I’ll nbot watc the video because apart from teh obvious breach of this chap’s privacy whihc I don’t wish to perpetuate, I’ve seen it all before. Before I was a scientist or lawyer I was a nurse ( see what I’m doing here nurse>scientist>lawyer, the slow descent into evil). You see this sort of stuff pretty regulalry and it fails to surprise me now. It is actually pretty natural to want to stimulate the prostate area and I’ve seen all manner of fruit/vegetables/shampoo bottles/household items inserted.

    From a medical point fo view though I would suggest that a) use lots and lots of lube b) only use safe items with a base so accidentally total insertion is avoided ( as MA Jeff said) and finally the golden rule is to always remember the object/sphincter ratio and try not to push the boundaries too much. It also helps that said items are free of sharp edges, spikes, pointy bits and or electrical cords ( don’t ask).

  21. Bride of Shrek says

    Ok, I just pulled an all nighter to get a paper finished and the baby was crying- forgive the amount of typos- I’m completely cream crackered.

  22. R. J. says

    I was an EMT for over a decade and have heard about incidents like this. While YouTube didn’t exist at the time (1970’s and 1980’s), word still got around about things like this. People talk so the stories got out. I’ve heard about other things people have stuck in various orifices. If you’ve worked in the medical field for a while, especially on the emergency side of things, you see the same things over and over and it becomes both a source of disgust and amusement. While the actions of the staff were wrong, I can understand where they’re coming from. It never fails that something comes into the emergency room that even the most seasoned pros haven’t seen and they can’t help but shake their heads in disbelief and have a good laugh at the jackassery that they are witnessing. The staff should be disciplined but the bishop should be admitted to the hospital to have his head removed from his ass.

  23. Maureen Lycaon says

    Carlie at #18 — good point, and I stand corrected to some extent. But this doesn’t only happen in American states where sex toys are illegal, and there are surely less dangerous objects than spray cans, glass bottles and light bulbs even in repressive Third World countries. Even a banana would surely be safer; at least it wouldn’t break into glass shards.

    And just for the record: I agree that every person in that room, and the bishop, should lose their jobs at the very least.

  24. Gregory Kusnick says

    How can the mere action of watching something be inappropriate?

    You’re not merely watching. You’re also bumping the hit count on that video, thereby implicitly endorsing it as something worth watching.

  25. Alan C says

    I didn’t watch the video, but not because I have a weak stomach – I can throw up as far as anyone.

  26. negentropyeater says

    1) The medical staff has committed a grave infraction that’s clear. They should be fired. The victim is entitled to significant compensation.

    2) the video showed on youtube is perfectly anonymous, so I see no reason not to watch it

    3)if you are a homosexual, like me, it’s quite educational.
    Under the influence of alcohol or other substances some, inexperienced, and not very clever, people might be tempted to make this mistake more often. Having seen this video might have saved quite a few from this delicate operation.

  27. Davidlpf says

    A couple of thoughts first one is if the body spray goes off does it smell better down there, also OUCH.

  28. Julie Stahlhut says

    I think I’ll give the video a miss, but I’m just wondering: Would the bishop have been placated if the accident had been caused by unsafe sex play between a husband and wife instead of between a male prostitute and his customer?

    Anyway, if licensed medical personnel thought it was funny to inflict public humiliation on one of their patients, they should lose their licenses. Period.

  29. Scote says

    I’ll not watch the video, either. I think direct linking to it is in poor taste.

    But, there has always been dark humor in ER’s. X-Rays of various things stuck up anuses, stories of rings stuck on private parts and the like. Having extra persons in the OR was wrong, but it was the videotaping and posting to the internet that was the real breach of ethics, making the ER story not merely an anonymous legend but rather the humiliation and invasion of privacy of a particular individual for everyone and anyone to see.

  30. says

    I will defned PZ’s decision to post the video link: as the previous posts show, there are plenty of opinions on the whole sordid subject, and we all have the option of watching or not watching it (especially as PZ has also posted a warning as to its contents). I personally will not be watching it; the description alone is enough for me, and watching the video would be merely voyeuristic on my part.

    Carlie #18: … safe sex toys are not easily obtainable. Yet another side effect of a repressive society…:
    I stayed for a while in Holland a few years ago (I’m British by the way), and I was amazed at the laid-back attitudes of the Dutch, even by my very un-American standards. In every newsagents shop they have adult magazines uncovered and in easy reach of small children (who generally take no notice of them). I remember walking down a street in Breda and seeing a charming little toy shop with hand-made wooden toys in the window – right next door to a sex shop displaying dildos and all kinds of sex toys, including (and I laughed out loud when I saw it) a full size shrink-wrapped rubber fist! Americans reading this might be shocked at that and wonder what children make of all this stuff, but from what I saw, they just aren’t bothered one bit. To them I suppose it’s just “grown-up stuff” and they ignore it.

    The Dutch are way ahead of all of us in their casual attitude to sex; even us Brits could learn from them. It’s a totally different way of life over there, and they certainly don’t seem to suffer as a society from their openness. I bet you don’t get any Dutchmen sticking spray cans up their butts. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

  31. says

    A nurse friend of mine shocked me with the news that people coming in with bottles in certain places bottles really ought not to be was a relatively frequent occurrence on the weekend shift. So frequent, that her hospital had considered putting out a pamphlet on how to remove such a bottle from such a place a bottle ought not to be with relative ease. Usually, the cause of the problem of removal was a simply issue of there being a vacuum to (painfully) overcome. However, simply inserting a drinking straw along side the offending object was enough to equalise pressure and POP! problem solved!

    Oh, and the hospital decided that, common or not, a pamphlet containing detailed instructions on how to remove a bottle from from one’s asshole would probably cause more consternation that it would relieve.

  32. Sastra says

    I didn’t (won’t) watch the video either, so I don’t know if it was clear that this was a voluntary act, and not part of a rape (or consensual sex turned nonconsensual.)

    If it could have been the latter, then the humor is even more grotesque. Orac (at scienceblog’s Respectful Insolence) has posted such stories once or twice, but the patient was completely anonymous — and presumably had not been laughed at at the time. That’s the part that bothers me most — in such pain, and treated with so little respect.

    (Btw, also agree with those who say the link should probably be removed, for reasons mentioned.)

  33. says

    There are some extremely nutty people in the Philippines, but as always with the media, only the really nutty people get international attention.
    From my experience of the Philippines it is far more religious than the UK, but (not including the few nut-jobs) it is more about having pictures of Jesus around you house than actually going to church. All Sunday the malls are full of people, the shops still open on Easter Sunday and Christmas, it is business and shopping first for most people and Jesus second.
    Also they aren’t too strict on blasphemy either, almost every person I met called me Jesus, or wanted a photo with Jesus (or to flirt with Jesus).
    No one seemed to be even slightly disturbed when I mentioned I was an atheist.
    I suppose this rant is aimed mostly at #2, because while I admit the Philippines does have its crazies, it is by far and away the best country I have ever visited, and I wouldn’t want them to put you off going.

  34. says

    PZ, thanks for the story.
    The story goes that the victim was drunk and had a one night stand. Apparently after sex, he commented that the other person had a small penis. He woke up the follwoing morning with that can up there..
    The point of this whole debacle is how the church reacted and most people actually feels the same way. I’ve read other blogs with the same views. Most are actually harassing other bloggers who calls the priest stupid, racist etc. “Leave the priest alone” is their rant…

  35. almostChristian says

    The sad thing about this whole affair is that nobody is willing to criticize the priest. Even the patient’s lawyer only went as far as saying to the effect that while he disagrees with the priest’s opinion, nobody should criticize him because he’s a fucking priest! The priest is actually a monseigneur, which is pretty high ranking. Sorry no link, I only got this from the local newspaper (I live in Cebu, where the story happens)

  36. Maureen Lycaon says

    I was unaware that this was a non-consensual thing with the victim passed out. If I had been, I would have taken a different view of it.

  37. says

    I live about an hour’s plane ride from this hospital. Heard about this incident just last week. The conduct of those involved strikes me as quite unprofessional. Another stain on Filipino doctors’ and nurses reputation.

    Gobaskof in #36: Yes indeed the malls are packed on weekends. And the churches (catholic and otherwise) have followed the crowd. Masses and worship services are now being held in malls. I don’t advertize myself as an atheist (not even to my own relatives) but I think you’re right that professing one’s atheism isn’t something that’ll get you lynched here.

  38. says

    Relatively speaking, the Philippines is far more tolerant of atheists than its neighbors in the region. However, Catholicism is deeply entrenched in politics, so much so that the President can openly boast of her government’s obedience to the Vatican. (

    So while we can be openly atheist without fear of lynching, certain political issues (contraception, divorce, euthanasia) are monopolized by the Catholic hierarchy, which brooks no dissent.

  39. Autumn says

    Man, I usually hate to think that I would be so shallow as to relate another story of disgusting behavior resulting in hospital admission. And I have a good one. But I am not, at this moment, quite that shallow.
    My record is still pretty bad.

  40. says

    Russell(#2) –

    “there’s nothing necessarily wrong with people criticizing those who cause themselves injury in various ways.”

    Criticize or Mock? Deliberate or Accidental? The film is a free-for-all mockery of an instance that is probably not as uncommon as you might think. There is a moral ethic (and, obviously, a few immoral ones too) among the practicing medical profession (which, obviously, the Lord on High and the Wisdom of the Wise can either include or preclude at the discretion of many of their earthly interpreters of words and deeds). That there was a jovial, camera wielding audience for this event puts it far above the mark of critisizm and well into the boundaries of sheer mockery.

    “those providing medical care have an ethical obligation to do that in a fashion that doesn’t leak out to the public, and to restrict any criticism to advice that benefits the patient’s health.” A prior statement: “But the rest of us are not under the same obligation.” (The statement in bold refers to the basic understanding of the obligation referred to in the preceding quotation.)

    I don’t know about anyone else here, but I have a serious problem with the statement that I emphasized with bold letters. I emphasized them that way because I thought that it represented the statement quite well – bold! I do not know your personal views or insights on religion vs. nonreligion, Russell, but it is a difficult process to dispel the religious belief that, in order for us to act morally and ethically, we must have an external “obligation to do so – hence, the Laws of the Bible, or whatever teachings one might follow.

    If you are of an atheist, agnostic, pantheist, or any other non-god-fearing mindset, you really need to be aware of the term, and concept, that those of us who do so love to play with encased gunpowder do so lovingly refer to as backfire. The Atheist community in particular has worked long and hard to debunk the preposterous idea that morality cannot exist without moral obligation. Now comes you to to bear the impression that, since there is no obligation for the rest of us to practice these same moral and ethical restraints that are imposed on our medical profession, it is okay for the lesser intellectual to participate in open ridicule, humiliation, and the denial of basic human rights toward whatever circumstances are personally deemed as ludicrous or irrational or deplorable.

    I really hope you don’t utter this utterly indignant line of excusatory excrement if you are ever visibly defending or spreading the cause of Atheism because this philosophy would be a very vile and undermining blemish on the face of the entire freethinking community. No, you don’t have the same moral or ethical obligations as these doctors and nurses are supposed to have. You act morally and ethically because you innately understand that which is helpful and pleasant and right, from that which is harmful or unpleasant or wrong, and apply the beneficial aspects of that understanding to all things.

    “I don’t violate some ethical boundary when I call them religious nuts, or post about it on a blog.”

    This is a grossly moot point of defense for the argument you propose here. There is a radical difference in mocking someone’s philosphies via the internet, and providing the worldwide humiliation and mockery of an identifiable individual’s personal life, while violating the patient’s every right, and while that patient is in an indefensible position.

    Another thought to consider is that surgical procedure areas are normally kept to the minimum number of persons required to complete the task at hand, not because of patient privacy, but because each person added raises the possibility of contamination, even when properly scrubbed. These people did more than just inflict humiliation on the guy, they also put him at risk for infection.

    Let those who are infallible of action cast the first lines of intimidation toward all other’s fallible human actions…

  41. BadeMart says

    Sorry, but y’all stepped into the same steaming moral pile as the Bishop. Being titillated by the person’s suffering and then taking a moral high ground to cover the discomfort that one is no better than the immature staff and moralising bishop.

  42. Bobby says

    I’ve been lurking here for about a month now, and now I feel I have to comment.

    What I find disturbing is that no mention was made of the mockery Pharyngula made of the Brazilian priest who got himself (very probably at least) killed when he strapped himself to a bunch of helium filled balloons.

    What’s the logic?
    Mocking a Christian getting KILLED because of his own stupidity = good?
    Mocking a homosexual getting HUMILATED because of his own stupidity= bad?

    All that said: I am myself a pretty militant atheist and I don`t give a shit about how anybody seeks to find sexual fulfillment, but I do find this rater sad.

    Nevertheless, I still enjoy both the deep insights one can find in plenty of the posts here and the fun poked at IDiots and their ilk and will probably keep visting :)

    P.S. I realize that the poor guy probably didn’t insert that can voluntarily after all, but that didn’t become appearent till pretty late in the thread and certainly isn’t appearent from PZ’s post.

    PPS Yes, I do think PZ should remove the link to the video (haven’t watched it and won’t)