Can Being Mean to Your Child’s Doctor Lead to Worse Care?

It is essential for doctors to maintain a healthy state of mind while practicing medicine. Unfortunately, we as patients or family members can sometimes lose our patience. It turns out being rude to your doctor puts them into an unhealthy state of mind and increases the risk of being harmed by a medical mistake. Research conducted at the University of Florida discovered doctors are more likely to make diagnostic mistakes when the parents of child patients are rude.

According to the researchers, 40 percent of errors related cognitive performance may be attributed to how doctors are affected by rudeness. Doctors who experienced rudeness from the parents of their patients had worse diagnostic accuracy. They were also less likely to share information or communicate with family members of child patients.

This is not the first study to identify a correlation between being nice to doctors and receiving an accurate diagnosis. A study released by British Medical Journal came to similar conclusions. In this study, patients who were rude, overly demanding or angry made their doctors more likely to make diagnostic errors.

Training programs at hospitals and medical schools may teach doctors coping strategies for dealing with difficult patients and family members. Some already perform this role. It is unrealistic to assume doctors will never treat rude patients or deal with angry family members within the course of their careers.

Can Doctors Be Held Liable for Making Diagnostic Mistakes?

Even if patients or their family members are rude, doctors are legally obligated to provide treatment within the standard of care. It may be unpolite to be rude, and it may be disrespectful, but it does not excuse mistakes. Patients harmed by medical mistakes, including diagnostic errors, deserve the chance to hold doctors and hospitals accountable for negligence.


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