Friday, December 05, 2008

Arrogant, Abusive and Disruptive — and a Doctor

Some doctors seem to get a bad rep for being intimidating and well, not very friendly. It seems that sort of behavior is not just uncouth but it's also dangerous - an article from the New York Times suggests that doctors' disruptive behavior is leading to potential medical errors and putting their patients' lives at risk.
A survey of health care workers at 102 nonprofit hospitals from 2004 to 2007 found that 67 percent of respondents said they thought there was a link between disruptive behavior and medical mistakes, and 18 percent said they knew of a mistake that occurred because of an obnoxious doctor. Another survey by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, a nonprofit organization, found that 40 percent of hospital staff members reported having been so intimidated by a doctor that they did not share their concerns about orders for medication that appeared to be incorrect. As a result, 7 percent said they contributed to a medication error.
Seeing the potential patient safety issues in this sort of behavior, the Joint Commission is now requiring hospitals to develope a code of conduct and to enforce it.
There are signs, however, that such abusive behavior is less likely to be tolerated. Physicians and nurses say they have seen less of it in the past 5 or 10 years, though it is still a major problem, and the Joint Commission is requiring hospitals to have a written code of conduct and a process for enforcing it.Still, every nurse has a story about obnoxious doctors. A few say they have ducked scalpels thrown across the operating room by angry surgeons. More frequently, though, they are belittled, insulted or yelled at — often in front of patients and other staff members — and made to feel like the bottom of the food chain. A third of the nurses in Dr. Rosenstein’s study were aware of a nurse who had left a hospital because of a disruptive physician.
It doesn't come at much of a surprise then when we read statistics that show a lack of clear communication is responsible for over 60% of medical errors. Read more here.

No comments: