A woman recorded audio of her surgery and discovered the shocking things her operating staff said about her while she was unconscious.
Ethel Easter told Fox 26 Houston that she broke down in tears when her doctor told her she'd have to wait two months for a hernia surgery.
"I was like, 'I can’t wait for two months,'" Easter said. "I’m terribly ill, and he said 'listen' he got very abrupt. He said, 'Who do you think you are? You have to wait just like everybody else.'"
Because of her doctor's attitude, she decided the best thing to do was to tape-record her surgery.
"This is my natural hair I had a weave at the time which is braid extensions and when I put my hair up I put the recorder right in my hair," she said of the secret recorder she had with her during the procedure.
Just after Easter began snoring in the tape recording, the surgeon started telling the operating staff what he thought of his patient.
"She’s a handful she had some choice words for us in the clinic when we didn’t book her case in two weeks," the doctor said.
"Really?" a staffer responded.
"I’m going to call a lawyer and file a complaint," the surgeon responded jokingly.
"That doesn’t seem like the thing to say to the person whose going to do your surgery," the staffer said.
Later, some of the operating staff were heard making insulting remarks about Easter's body. A nurse was heard laughing about the remarks.
"Did you see her belly button?" a female voice on the tape asked, followed by laughter.
One staff member referred to Easter as "Precious meet Precious."
"It was 'Precious meet Precious,' as though I was this big fat black woman," Easter told Fox 26. The surgeon even brought Easter's husband into the conversation, saying he felt sorry that he had to put up with her.
"When I heard the comments on the tape and listened to them I was shocked," community activist Quanell X said. "I had no idea that doctors, anesthesiologists and nurses would carry themselves in this manner in an operating room.”
A spokesman for Harris Health System, the company that oversees the hospital where the surgery took place, declined to comment, citing patient confidentiality.
It's unclear whether Easter will take any legal action against the hospital or its staff, though Harris Health System did write a letter to Easter, saying they used the incident as an opportunity to remind the hospital staff to be mindful of their remarks at all times.
In a similar incident in 2015, a Virginia man filed a $500,000 lawsuit after a recording revealed his doctor saying he wanted to punch the man in the face within five minutes of talking to him during pre-op. The procedure was a routine colonoscopy.
The practice was ultimately ordered to pay $500,000 in damages for the incident.