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Are Doctors Influenced By Criticism?

February 6, 2017 by Carrie Capouellez

Hospitals can be extremely stressful places. When people are overwhelmed by emotions for injured loved ones, they can sometimes lash out at doctors and healthcare workers. Aggressive behavior may do more harm than good, however, as a new study suggests criticizing a doctor could actually cause catastrophic medical errors.

Researchers wanted to investigate the impact criticism had on doctors, so they collected doctors and nurses from neonatal intensive care units and asked them to work through mock situations. The study hired actors to play the part of the patient’s parents. The actors were instructed to make neutral comments, negative comments, or positive comments about their child’s care.

The study revealed doctors and nurses subjected to negative comments actually performed worse than doctors and nurses receiving neutral or positive comments. Criticism caused the team to take longer to diagnose the condition, made them less accurate when diagnosing, and actually made them more likely to make serious mistakes. By comparison, researchers looked at other dangerous working behaviors and found that criticism is more harmful for patient outcomes than sleep deprivation.

How Does This Affect Patient Outcomes?

While many people may think doctors get used to things like criticism and high stress situations, the reality is doctors are still vulnerable to rudeness from patients and their families. Although some mistakes made by a doctor are not serious, others can be life-threatening. Regardless of the severity of the medical error, patient outcomes worsen when doctors receive negative feedback. It is important for family members of patients to remember rude behavior will be counterproductive. To best protect your loved ones from potentially deadly medical errors, let the doctors and staff members do their jobs.

What To Do After A Medical Error

Sometimes despite your best efforts, medical errors happen that threaten the life of the patient. Many outside factors can cause a doctor to make a mistake and there is often very little patients and their families can do to avoid experiencing these mistakes. If you suspect a loved one suffered injury as the result of a medical mistake, you should immediately seek a second opinion. You should also contact an experienced medical error attorney as soon as possible.

Medical Error Lawyers for Philadelphia Families

The experienced medical error lawyers at Lopez McHugh LLP have helped victims of medical malpractice for over 30 years. If you suffered injuries as the result of a medical error, we can help you seek justice and obtain compensation for your damages. Call us today for a free consultation.

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