Physician attitudes and your care: is your doctor overconfident?
For patients and healthcare workers alike, the assertive and dominant culture of the medical profession can be a menacing stumbling block. To be certain, doctors are meant to make tough calls based on a range of highly specialized knowledge not accessible to the general public. But, when doctor attitudes cross the line from confidence to arrogance, patients all too often have to pay a dear price .
Why is arrogance commonly observed in the medical field?
Of course, not all doctors are arrogant, and there are many practicing physicians who go about their work with a healthy degree of humility. That being said, experts agreed that physician training and professional culture can foster arrogance.
“Medical culture can encourage assertive behavior, arrogance and a sense of entitlement,” writes Dr. Richard C. Senelick in the Huffington Post. According to Dr. Senelick, 10 or more years of training can leech the compassion out of medical students and residents.
The specialized knowledge acquired over this long training period can also be a source of arrogance. Knowledge of the human body that is far beyond that possessed by patients or other health care workers puts physicians in a potential position of dominance. For doctors who fail to keep their egos in check, this can manifest in boastfulness, a lack of respect for others and failure to listen to input.
How physician arrogance can harm your care: an example
Every year, some 30,000 Americans in hospitals die from central line-associated bloodstream infections. In an effort to tackle this deadly problem, patient safety expert Dr. Peter Pronovost implemented safety protocols at a number of hospitals that reduced the central line-associated bloodstream infection rate to virtually zero.
According to a paper published by Dr. Pronovost in the Journal of the American Medical Association, it wasn’t just safety checklists that worked to implement the change: infection rates were reduced in intensive care units where nurses were finally allowed and even encouraged to question doctors who had previously been treated as “god-like” experts who were not to be challenged.
The bottom line is that physicians should take into account input, and should even solicit it from others on the healthcare team, as well as from patients themselves. Even doctors can miss a step, and when they do, an unwillingness to listen or to admit mistakes can be deadly to a patient.
Contact a malpractice attorney if you have been injured by a medical oversight
Unfortunately, not all doctors are enlightened as to the many patient benefits brought on by humility; for some of them, this means causing preventable medical mistakes .
If a physician has made an error that harmed your health or the health of a family member, you may be entitled to compensation. What’s more, a righteous medical malpractice lawsuit can serve as an important wakeup call for physicians who need to tone down their ego when making future treatment decisions. To learn more about your options and the potential benefits of filing a medical malpractice action, talk to an experienced malpractice attorney today.