According to a study published in JAMA Surgery, the behavior of doctors and nurse practitioners is correlated to the frequency of medical errors and malpractice in surgery. According to Dr. Hickson, one of the co-authors of the study, physicians with a longer patient complaint record are more likely to be sued for malpractice.
Disgruntled family members are more likely to pursue legal action against rude and irresponsible doctors than against trusted medical practitioners who have slipped and made a mistake.
While that may be an obvious correlation, rudeness and disrespect displayed by doctors in surgery also have a great impact on the behavior of other members on the surgical team. Team members who are treated with disrespect are less likely to speak up about changes in a patient’s medical condition. A nurse whose reminders have been ignored several times, to perform a certain safety procedure during surgery, is less likely to push for it in future procedures.
The Data On Bedside Manner And Surgical Complications
According to the study, doctors with higher complaint records experience nearly 14% more surgical and medical complications following procedures than surgeons who showed more respect towards their patients and staff. Medical complications include infections, renal conditions, cardiovascular and thromboembolic conditions, stroke, pneumonia, sepsis and urinary tract infections.
Of the 27 million surgical procedures performed in the United States every year, 350,000 of those result in complications listed above. Adverse outcomes and complications directly resulting from the surgery that could have been avoided put additional stress on patients and their families, both emotionally and financially. The cost of surgical complications is estimated to amount to more than $3 billion annually.
Study co-author Roger Dmochowski, M.D., executive director of Risk prevention for the Vanderbilt Health System and a Urologic surgeon, suggests disrespectful surgeons will likely continue to act that way until another medical professional is brave enough to speak up about their behavior and bring it to their direct attention.
Vanderbilt University has implemented a Patient Advocacy Reporting System (PARS®) in which staff intervenes in critical behavior of surgeons and other medical professionals towards their patients. The program gives surgeons the opportunity to see their behavior from the other party’s perspective, analyze and self-regulate and restrain themselves. PARS has proven to be quite successful. 80% of the more than 1,600 physicians that are part of this program has been able to reduce their number of complaints significantly and thus lowered a number of malpractice claims against them.
What should you do if your doctor is disrespectful?
You should never have to put up with degradation or belittlement from your doctor or physician. If you no longer feel comfortable seeing your doctor, you might want to consider switching doctors or hospitals. Please keep in mind that strain on the doctor-patient relationship increases the risk of complications resulting from medical procedures. You deserve better!
If you don’t want to switch practitioners, you can also talk to your hospital’s social worker about your doctor’s behavior.
If you are on Medicare or Medicaid, you can contact the Quality Insights Quality Innovation Network who is responsible for providing patients with better care.
If you or a loved one have suffered from medical malpractice because of the negligent actions of a rude, dismissive physician, contact Lisa Levine, a Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice attorney, today to discuss your legal rights.