Paging Dr.Jekyll

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

It seems like Mr.Hyde has been on-call a lot lately. But more hospitals are cracking down on rude and hostile behavior from its medical staff. Dr. David L. Feldman, vice president of Perioperative Services at Maimonides Medical Center, talks about enforcing "codes of mutual respect" in health care settings.

Comments [25]

Naturedeke from LI

Rudeness and Arrogance are inexcusable.I find it to be especially prevalent each summer with the new batch of interns. Those of us in other health care professions, often have greater knowledge of repeat or long-term patients. Common courtesy and good manners go a long long way in any interpersonal relationship. It should be a required course for all medical professions.

Jul. 30 2008 03:14 PM
lillym from NJ

To #20 - I agree. I always had a great experience with doctors in Manhattan. To find a good one is to ask a refferal FROM a good one. That is the only way not to be dissappointed. They know each other the best. I moved to north NJ 4 years ago and after trying docs here I am back to Manhattan. I live in a village and even when there are only few people in the waiting room - I wait for half an hour or more. And to book the appointment sometimes takes a month! The last drop was the ENT doc who was forcing me to have an operation without giving me details, making me feel neurotic and making me feel guilty ("So many people are waiting months for this operation" "Well, give my spot to them" I said). He basically booked my operation without my consent!! Outrageous!

Jul. 30 2008 12:27 PM
David! from NYC

You know, C. Everett Koop (or was it "Coop"?), for as crazy as he was under Reagan, made it his post-Surgeon General ambition to address this very topic. He pointed out the outrageous number of bones in the human hand and how med students must be able to identify all of them to advance into residency, yet most schools of medicine don't offer training in patient CARE.

while I want my doc to be knowledgeable, I really don't care if she/he must consult an anatomy manual to tell me the name of the fifth bone in my pinkie.

Another thing: nurses are very much underappreciated. they really do most of the patient care, yet who do most families pay homage to? That's right, the doctors. I'll take a good nurse over an average doc 24/7/365.

Jul. 29 2008 02:59 PM
Chuck from NJ

The "Joint Commission" is always looking for ways to justify their existence. Since it is impossible to really measure quality in medical care (the final outcome is pretty certain, sorry to say), this group, which certifies hospitals, has chosen to grade hospitals on other processes: does the orderly know the fire code, do the nurses fill out all the forms, does the doctor sign discharge summaries on time? None of these things matter to the folks above that complain about poor care in the hospital, while they make taking care of actual patients harder, because its just more mindless work to fit into that 20 hour day you all are afraid of. This particular mandate will force your docs to sit long hours in classes and fill out multiple choice forms to demonstrate they are caring, while their patients sit, fume, wait and wait, only to be told they have cancer in 15 secs or less....

And, ironically enough, as the guest pointed out, that old stereotype of the surgeon who yells and throws instruments, which this would "fix", has largely gone out along with the generation that trained in the military during the 40s-60s.

Jul. 29 2008 02:44 PM
Maryann from New York, NY

The fact that doctors work long hours to the point of exhaustion is something they know full-well upon entering this field. I personally know plenty of patient, caring doctors and nurses, of all ages, who go above and beyond the call of duty, all while dealing with numerous patients and emergencies daily. However, I recently lost a child and dealt with the most atrocious hospital administrators and physicians who simply could not/would not deal with the death of a baby. They should seriously reconsider studying OB/GYN if they only want to be part of happy stories. The lack of sensitivity is to the detrement of the patient, and why else would you become a doctor but to help your patients?

Jul. 29 2008 12:04 PM
RosieNYC from NJ

Arrogance and lack of common sense knows no generational or geographical boundaries. OTH, interestingly enough, I find my NYC doctors much more pleasant and more considered than my northern NJ doctors. In NYC, when I go to see my NYC doctors, I rarely have to wait more than 15 minutes beyond my appt time. And if I do, the doctor him/herself apologizes. In New Jersey, for some reason, doctors seem to think patients have nothing else to do other than sitting in their waiting rooms. My average wait in Jersey is about 30 minutes. If you dare to bring this issue up to doctors, most of them get extremely rude. One of them, in Midland Park, NJ, had the nerve to call me and tell me to find another doctor after I reschedule my appointment after 45 minute wait. Oh, and this "well, you HAVE TO wait" attitude extends to admin and nursing personnel too.

Jul. 29 2008 12:03 PM
the truth from Atlanta/New York

I don't want a surgeon that has been up for "20 hours straight" operating on me, thanks.

Not an excuse they have very nice lounges!!

Jul. 29 2008 12:03 PM
Carey from Jersey



Universal Healthcare = better healthcare, better payed happier employees, better happier healthier people.

What's not to like?

Jul. 29 2008 12:03 PM
J.C. from Minneapolis

Could part of this problem be the outrageously long shifts that are demanded by the medical field (and the situation pointed out by comment #8)?

If I were up for 20 hours straight (for the 2nd or 3rd time that week), I'd not be pleasant to be around.

Jul. 29 2008 12:01 PM
Jamal from Manhattan

What do people think about this being a phenomenon of the crappy situation of healthcare nationally. Insurance companies make doctors lives miserble

Jul. 29 2008 12:00 PM

I’m interested in knowing what kind of resources are currently available to patients who have encountered a difficult doctor. I recently visited a neuro-surgeon who gave me a half hour of test and then refused to explain what the test was for. He later told me “they don’t pay me enough to answer your questions”. I felt really humiliated continuing the exam but had no choice due to the limited number of specialists in his field. I tried to ask at the desk if there was somewhere I could complain but didn’t get an answer. Who can patients turn to? Aren't hospitals accountable?

Jul. 29 2008 12:00 PM
the truth from Atlanta/New York

Stress is not an excuse!

Jul. 29 2008 11:57 AM
jill from NYC

What about the overly happy plastic smile 'i'm too busy' doctor; wasn't really listening to my problem, had an assistant do the check-up, told me I was fine, made me feel a little neurotic about my concerns, only to have my back go out a few weeks later which prompted my own getting of an MRI to find a degenerated disc, herniation, and arthrosis...

Jul. 29 2008 11:57 AM
the truth from Atlanta/New York

I have not yet experienced this but I will not tolerate any rudeness, medical care is too expensive for that non-sense!!

Jul. 29 2008 11:56 AM
anonyme from midtown manhattan

i have gone the alternate route - i was astonished to catch my cardio telling me i need lipitor (a sales pitch!) - there is nothing to support women needing lipitor - and it's doubtful that it doesn anything good for men as well. Doctors can't be doctors any more. The corporate world does not respect professionals, period.

Jul. 29 2008 11:55 AM
Donna de Soto from NYC

From my experience some of the rudest people in a hospital setting can be the nurse aids. Not all of course, but some act like they are doing the patient a favor and others are totally negligent.

When my mother was hostpitalized I found her in a totally abominable state more than once, and I visited her daily.

Jul. 29 2008 11:55 AM
meghan from Williamsburg

my dad is a doctor who also teaches at the north east university college of medicine. He taught for years a course called ethics in medicine which basically enforced a good bedside manner. He claims do many of the students have been burried in books they don't know how I interact with their patients. Maybe this should be required in order to get a medical degree.

Jul. 29 2008 11:55 AM
Carla Conforto from Brooklyn

Doctors that are rude are mostly just stressed out! Everytime I go to my eye doctor at a large metro hosipital she has so many patients booked (hosipital policy, every 15 min) that she appears overwhelmed.

Jul. 29 2008 11:53 AM
Robert from NYC

He's wrong, plain and simple. What else do you expect him to say, Brian, really. You go to a hospital, any hospital, and see how crappy the treatment of patients has degenerated over the past decade. Not only are the younger staff rude and indifferent they're not knowledgeable.

Jul. 29 2008 11:52 AM

I heard something on "Speaking of Faith" about medicine that struck me as profound yet simple (particularly as I deal with my father being very ill). To paraphrase, a doctor said that what an ordinary day to the doctor is an extraordinary day for her patients.

People dealing with hospitals often do so because of something they didn't expect or are scared about. It is both comforting to know that doctors are well-trained and to trust that they are used to dealing with specific illnesses and problems. But doctors must also recognize how out of sorts patients are when dealing with things that seem routine to them.

Jul. 29 2008 11:51 AM
C. from Jackson Heights, NY

As a homosexual male I support the do ask do tell policy now advocated by the CDC… However, whenever I receive treatment and I notify doctors of my practice, the service always seems to become a bit ruder…

Jul. 29 2008 11:50 AM
david from nyc

I have worked in various hospitals around the city & have found especially with resident Doctors that have to work long hours the hate dealing with patients talk about patients and also behave rudely towards staff as well.

Jul. 29 2008 11:49 AM
M. from Brooklyn

Most people I knew that applied to, and were accepted into, med school were type-A personalities: smart, driven, ambitious. So it doesn't surprise me some doctors aren't the most sensitive people. You don't get into med school by being nice.

Jul. 29 2008 11:48 AM
Cliff from Manhattan

I nominate for first prize Dr. Jeykll, the SOB who walked into my mother's hospital room at 6PM Friday, July 1 (just before the long weekend) and announced that biopsy of the lesion in her colon indicated that she had cancer. He turned on his heels and on the way out the door "consoled" her with the thought that he'd see her again on Tuesday.

Jul. 29 2008 11:47 AM
Rich from Staten Island

The caring part of medicine is apparently gone. Perhaps physicians should receive some sensitively training when hired by hospitals. The staff only seems to come around when they need authorization for another procedure or for a peripheral look at a chart in order to bill the insurance. Maybe view the film "The Doctor" with William Hurt in order to get some perspective on what a patient experiences at a hospital.
Locally it appears you only have a chance at good care if you're a relative of a hospital worker

Jul. 29 2008 11:24 AM

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