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Friday, October 9, 2015

'Disruptive' doctors rattle nurses, increase safety risks

Jayne O'Donnell and Laura Ungar
Originally published September 20, 2015

Here are two excerpts:

Disruptive behavior leads to increased medication errors, more infections and other bad patient outcomes — partly because staff members are often afraid to speak up in the face of bullying by a physician, Wyatt says. That "hidden code of silence" keeps many incidents from being reported or adequately addressed, says physician Alan Rosenstein, an expert in disruptive behavior.


Most experts estimate that up to 5% of physicians exhibit disruptive behavior, although fear of retaliation and other factors make it difficult to determine the extent of the problem. A 2008 survey of nurses and doctors at more than 100 hospitals showed that 77% of respondents said they witnessed physicians engaging in disruptive behavior, which often meant the verbal abuse of another staff member. Sixty-five percent said they saw nurses exhibit such behavior.

Most said such actions raise the risk of errors and deaths.

About two-thirds of the most serious medical incidents — those involving death or serious physical or psychological injury — can be traced back to communication errors, according to a health care accrediting organization called the Joint Commission. Getting nurses and other medical assistants rattled during surgery can be a big safety risk, Bartholomew says.

The entire article is here.