Anyone who’s ever been to a hospital knows that emotions tend to run high, which may result in patients or their loved ones being rude to medical professionals.
While both you and the doctor want the best possible outcome, berating your doctor could have harmful – even deadly – consequences, a study out of the University of Florida has found.
Lead professor, Dr Amir Erez, asserted that the findings reinforce their prior research that rudeness has “devastating effects on medical performance,” Erez said.
By some estimates as many as 18,000 people die every year as a result of medical error, while 50,000 suffer a permanent injury.
Some of these errors could be put down to poor judgment due to a doctor’s chronic lack of sleep, but these circumstances, according to prior research from Erez, account for about 10 to 20 per cent of cases.
The effects of rudeness, Erez said, account for upwards of 40 per cent.
“Rudeness is actually affecting the cognitive system, which directly affects your ability to perform,” Erez said.
“That tells us something very interesting. People may think that doctors should just ‘get over’ the insult and continue doing their job. However, the study shows that even if doctors have the best intentions in mind, as they usually do, they cannot get over rudeness because it interferes with their cognitive functioning without an ability to control it.”
Considering these findings and taking into account the large number of deaths attributed to medical errors, teaching medical professionals ways to handle rudeness should be a priority for the medical community.
“In the medical field, I don’t think they take into account how social interactions affect them,” said Erez, “but it’s something they’re starting to pay attention to.”
Just as you hate you hate taking sh*t from customers when you’re at work, doctors feel the exact same (if not worse), except with longer, torturous hours and a lot more at stake.
Be nice to them. Your life is in their hands, after all.