Sunday, April 16, 2017

Don't Be Rude To Your Doctors

Remember this classic scene from the movie "Terms of Endearment"? This 1983 tear jerker starred Shirley MacLaine as a desperate mother trying to tend to her hospitalized daughter. Scenes like this helped her win the Oscar for best actress that year.

At the time, I, along with nearly every other naive movie watching public, applauded how much she cared for her daughter and raised our collective fists at the callous reaction of the nurses. They appeared to be more concerned about charting their patients than actually looking after them. Now I know better. If any family member raised such histrionics nowadays, the nurses are more likely to call hospital security than to rush to the nearest Pyxis to administer analgesics.

There is a good reason we don't like patients or family running amok being rude to our staff and demand to be catered to their every whim. It lowers the quality of the hospital care that the patient receives.

The New York Times highlights an article from the journal Pediatrics that studied how doctors and nurses react to being treated poorly by family members. They used NICU staff "treating" plastic baby dolls who were then verbally insulted by an actor playing a parent. The actor would say something like, "We should have gone to another hospital where they don't practice Third World medicine." The authors found that subsequent care of the "baby" declined, with poorer diagnostic and procedural skills and less communication within the team.

So next time you go to the hospital and are not satisfied with the care being received, please try to work it out pleasantly with the staff. Screaming, yelling, insulting, and demeaning the caretakers won't help you get better care. You'll just wind up being blacklisted and barred from entering the hospital again.

1 comment:

  1. They should give the mother a shot (of Thorazine!) That's what we always did back in the day.