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Infighting Among Medical Professionals Harms Patients

A new report examined by Fox Philadelphia has found an alarmingly high rate of disruptive behavior among doctors and nurses at local hospitals. These examples of unprofessional behavior have placed dozens of patients at unnecessary risk.

According to the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, fighting between doctors and nurses has even occurred during surgery. In one case, a surgeon literally stormed out of the room during the operation because of a conflict with an attending nurse. The unaware patient was left lying on the operating table. In other instances, the report found examples of doctors who had personal conflicts with nurses acting out their disagreement by refusing to answer calls from those nurses who had questions about medications and other critical patient care details.

Overall, the report in that state alone found 77 incidents of personal disputes bleeding into the work environment and leading to unnecessary and unacceptable risk to the innocent patients who happened to be caught in the middle. Doctor-Nurse disputes accounted for the vast majority of the incidents, but several cases were found involving disagreements between doctors.

According to the report, hospital hierarchy facilitates temper-tantrums from doctors who are often not used to getting their way. In one case, an impatient doctor refused to wait out the necessary 30 minutes for a topical anesthetic to take effect on a circumcision of an infant. Instead he rushed the procedure on the baby all to save himself a few minutes time.

All work environments occasionally involve personal disagreement between professionals. However, disagreement is never an excuse for performing substandard medical work. That fact is especially true in the medical setting, where life and death literally depend on the careful work and coordinated efforts of several employees together. Our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys at Levin & Perconti understand the delicate nature of many medical procedures. However, all too often we have seen the deadly harm caused by avoidable errors. Personal disagreement can never be allowed to negatively affect that care given at our hospitals.