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Report: Angry doctors and nurses affecting patient care


Posted by Thomas Pettinicchi of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Mar 06, 2013 in Doctor Errors

People have long been told of the stress and anxiety that doctors and nurses feel on the job. Sleep deprivation and huge workloads often contribute to their tension, making some doctors angry and irritated. Unfortunately, these emotions can affect the care with which they treat their patients. It is not uncommon for a physician to lash out at co-workers, get distracted from a procedure or make a serious medical error when they feel these emotions rise up. In fact, a recent report illustrates just how serious the problem with angry doctors can be.

Patients in Connecticut and across the country who visit the doctor are generally not the cause of a doctor's frustrations, yet they can become the innocent victims of the resulting tirades. According to experts, as many as five percent of physicians have responded to patients and nurses with anger or violence, and some have even ignored situations that ultimately put a patient in danger.

Doctors who are overwhelmed, tired or frustrated are nothing new. However, the manner in which this behavior is tolerated by hospitals is changing. Instead of looking the other way and chalking bad behavior up to a doctor or nurse's abrasive personality, some hospitals are looking for ways to address this worrisome situation. Hospital workers who have exhibited signs of disruptive behavior can be sent to anger management programs that are designed to tackle the specific issues that come up in a hospital.

For example, doctors who ignore patient concerns out of frustration, blow up at other staff members during a procedure or respond to stressful situations with violence are among the people who are often sent to receive counseling.

It is estimated that 99 percent of people who have witnessed disruptive behavior in the hospital believe that it negatively affects patient care. But not only is this behavior taking a toll on the immediate care that patients receive, it is affecting the quality and quantity of nurses who work in the field. It is not uncommon for a nurse to quit after being berated or mistreated by a doctor. This environment of anger and frustration can put every person in the hospital, both patients and staff, in harm's way.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Hospitals Crack Down On Tirades By Angry Doctors," Sandra G. Boodman, March 5, 2013