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Doctors Who Bully

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Doctors Who Bully

By Anne-Marie Botek,

Bullies don’t disappear the day we kiss the halls of academia goodbye—they follow us into the “real world.” Oppressors find their way into practically every facet of our lives, showing up in the most unlikely places, including the exam room of your elderly loved one’s doctor’s office.

A confrontational nurse or an overbearing doctor can make appointments unpleasant, scary and even dangerous for a senior and their caregiver.

More dangerous than your average playground persecutor

A schoolyard bully might shove you off a swing, causing you to skin your knee, a doctor bully can undermine communication between nurses and other health care providers, potentially causing you to receive unnecessary treatment or undergo unnecessary surgery.

Research indicates that overbearing doctors whose demeanor discourages communication has a negative effect on the quality of care a person receives.

A study conducted by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) revealed that 40% of health care providers didn’t voice their concerns regarding a patient’s medication because it meant that they had to question an oppressive doctor.

The same study revealed that rude, bullying behavior is pretty prevalent in the health care system. 60% of clinicians said that they experienced episodes of verbal abuse that could be categorized as “strong,” while almost 50% reported having to confront off-putting body language.

There are also dangers associated with doctors who harass their patients.

Similar to the nurses in the ISMP study, people who are constantly being intimidated by their doctors are less likely to say things that may ignite a physician’s fury. A person may be reluctant to share a troubling symptom or the fact that they are experiencing a new side effect if they are worried it will make a doctor angry.

Choosing a Doctor You and Your Parents Are Comfortable With
Elderly Bullies Prove That Immaturity Has No Age Limit
Top 10 Questions About Elder Abuse

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3:17PM PDT on Jul 10, 2013

"A doctor bully can undermine communication between nurses and other health care providers, potentially causing you to receive unnecessary treatment or undergo unnecessary surgery." - Damn right they can, and if youre very unlucky like my mother you'll find that the Cancer Diagnosis mysteriously doesnt make it's way from the USA Doctors to the UK GP who despite you falling rapidly into terminal illness cant haul his/her sorry arse off the couch and visit her even ONCE in 10days whilst we were all coming & going trying to look after her.
I still ask myself why 2 Doctors in my family who were also visiting Mum were also the only ones among us who didnt ONCE use hand gel, and one of whom repeatedly coughed directly towards her and also kissed her several times then went home to tell the other that they and my nieces were "coming down with heavy colds"... Right, because that's what you should do to a terminally ill person. Maximise their chances of contracting a cold, or something worse.

9:32AM PST on Jan 11, 2013


11:54AM PDT on Mar 28, 2012

great info

1:54PM PDT on Mar 27, 2012

I was put in the hospital over a weekend with no plan in sight. I asked my nurse the telephone number of my doctor and I called the doctor on a Sunday to try and find out the treatment plan. She tore me up so badly that I "dared to disturb her on her day off." I was so ridiculed and depressed, as soon as I got out of that hospital I reported her to my state board. She did not practice medicine for three months. There is no way that I will ever allow a doctor to treat me that way again.

2:53PM PDT on Mar 26, 2012

I've heard of these doctor bullies from my friends and family and it's very sad to hear how widespread this is. I hope they can come back to their senses and remember their motivations for wanting to be a doctor in the first place and their sincere desire to help people.

1:34AM PDT on Mar 26, 2012

I left one Dr that I'd never want to have use of again.

1:29AM PDT on Mar 26, 2012

I've never heard of any such incident. I have had one unpleasant experience with only one doctor and I moved to another doctor immediately. She had the audacity to write a critical report about me when my file was passed to my new doctor.

6:16PM PDT on Mar 25, 2012

Bad doctors can be anywhere. Even hospitals with good reputations can have bully doctors on their staff. I honestly can't think of anyone I know that has never had a bullying dr. situation at least once. Their ego and authority over us goes to their heads and they detest when we question or disagree with them. We have the right to do that, and they need to learn to admit when they are wrong or when they don't know. There are so many dr's who do not want patients to come in their offices informed. They want puppet patients, and people are waking up and not being puppets anymore. You know when you're not treated right. Take your money/insurance somewhere else.

12:54AM PDT on Mar 25, 2012

Great info, sad it happens, do they forget why they became doctors? Thank you for article!

12:43AM PDT on Mar 25, 2012

I guess I've been really lucky, too. I've had doctors that weren't the friendliest, but I wasn't seeing them to make friends, I wanted their expertise and that I got. I wonder why the TV series "Dr. House" is so popular, couldn't get a more obnoxious, arrogant, bullying doctor than him.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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