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Doctors snapped mid-surgery photos of patient’s organs for ‘Price Is Right’ guessing game

Medical residents in Grand Rapids, Mich., posted photos on Instagram of themselves posing with patients' organs and tissue. (Courtesy of WOOD TV8)

They looked like images taken out of a horror movie. Only they were not.

One showed a doctor posing with a large human tissue in his hand while the patient lay on the operating table.

In another, a physician holds an organ that was surgically removed.

According to the NBC affiliate WOOD-TV, the photographs were shared on Instagram last week by a group of medical residents at Spectrum Health, in Grand Rapids, Mich., who asked the public to guess how much an unidentified organ weighed in a game they equated to ‘Price is Right.’

“The other game we play in the OR is guess that weight,” read the Instagram post that showed the organ. “It applies to much more than just babies. As always, ‘Price is Rightrules apply so if you go over then you’re out!”

The residents referred to the television game show where contestants guessed the value of a prize.

Spectrum Health, a health care network that operates 14 hospitals in Michigan, has opened an investigation into the “unfortunate incident” and said that it was “shocked and dismayed” upon learning that surgical images were posted on an Instagram account used by medical residents. Spectrum Health said patients’ trust and confidentiality “are paramount.”

“This unacceptable behavior does not in any way reflect our organization, the outstanding professionalism of our medical staff or our resident physicians-in-training,” the company said in statement sent to The Washington Post.

Spectrum Health also said it was taking steps “for corrective action” but did not offer further details despite requests for clarification, including the potential consequences the doctors could face once the investigation is concluded.

“These posts do not follow our code of excellence, our values or our expectations for team member behavior. We deeply value the trust that our patients have in us and we work to strengthen this bond every day,” the statement added.

The hospital did not clarify whether the residents, with specialties in obstetrics and gynecology, have been put on probation or suspension. Spectrum did not clarify how many doctors were involved in the incident, nor did it respond to specific questions about social media policies regarding patients.

The Instagram posts have been removed and the account, which was not officially connected to Spectrum Health, was closed soon after the TV station reached out to the residents on Friday.

The group of medical residents used the Instagram handle @grandrapids_obgyn_residency and described itself as “residents from across the country who are training in their specialty at Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids,” according to WOOD-TV.

One of the disturbing photos displayed a doctor pointing to a long strand of fibrous tissue, after completing a procedure known as morcellation in which doctors mince fibroid — noncancerous tumors — with small incisions. It is often used to remove uterine fibroids in women.

The TV station said it blurred part the images to protect the privacy of the patient, but they were fully visible on Instagram.

“We get a little competitive when your … attending (physician) challenges you in morcellation. Longest one wins! Good work,” the person who posted the picture wrote.

While some Instagram users engaged in the game of guessing the organ’s weight, some were outraged by the doctor’s behavior.

“And do you think the patient would appreciate you posting this? Did she agree for her body to be displayed on social media as part of your ‘game?’” the person wrote, according to the station.