Doctors make fun of patients.
It's a fact and it would certainly be kind of hypocritical of me to complain about it. There are probably some doctors who don't make jokes about their patients, but those doctors are humorless automatons.
But there are different ways that it can be done. Like during our team conference, I might say, "I sneezed while I was talking to Mrs. Katz and she tried to get out of her wheelchair and make me some chicken noodle soup." And everyone will laugh and say, "Aw!" Because of course, we all love Mrs. Katz and we tell anecdotes about her like we would tell everyone about a funny thing our child said.
Humor is a coping mechanism. I think as long as you care about your patients, it's okay to sometimes make jokes, as long as the jokes aren't cruel.
There was only one time in my medical training when I was truly bothered and disturbed by patients being ridiculed. When I was a med student rotating on Labor & Delivery, the first 10-15 minutes of signout each day was devoted to making fun of patients. And I really hated it. I thought the jokes were mean and directed at women who were already going through a pretty miserable time.
For example, there was a patient who had polycystic ovarian syndrome, and as such, she suffered from hirsutism (i.e. she was hairy). She went into early labor and we were giving her magnesium to keep her baby from being delivered prematurely. The woman was nice enough and I felt bad for her. And I didn't get why the residents had to spend several minutes making fun of how hairy she was during signout each day. It's not like she had time to get her body waxed while she was going into premature labor.
By the end of the rotation, the other female med students and I adamantly agreed that we were going to make sure we were immaculately groomed before giving birth. We couldn't stand the thought of being the object of one of these ridicule sessions.
I really think it wasn't right. But naturally, none of us said anything. Truthfully, the patients were much better treated than we were.