RSS   Newsletter   Contact   Advertise with us

Rude surgeons are more error-prone, study says

Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn
Staff Writer |
Rude surgeon
Surgery   Complications included surgical-site infections

Surgeons with a history of patient complaints regarding their personalities or attitude are also more likely to make mistakes in the operating room, a new study finds.

Researchers compared surgical outcomes with patient reports of unprofessional behavior by their doctors at several health systems in the United States.

The investigators found that people treated by surgeons who had the most complaints had nearly 14 percent more complications in the month after surgery than patients treated by surgeons viewed as more respectful.

Complications included surgical-site infections, pneumonia, kidney conditions, stroke, heart problems, blood clots, sepsis and urinary tract infections, according to the study led by Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) researchers.

Lead author Dr. William Cooper said surgeons who are rude and disrespectful to patients might also treat other medical professionals poorly, which could affect the quality of care. Cooper is a professor of pediatrics and director of the Vanderbilt Center for Patient and Professional Advocacy.

"For example, if a surgeon speaks disrespectfully to an anesthesiologist during a procedure, the anesthesiologist may become reluctant to speak up the next time the surgeon and the anesthesiologist work together," he said in a Vanderbilt news release.

"Similarly, if a nurse's reminder to perform a safety procedure such as a surgical time-out is repeatedly ignored, the nurse may be less likely to continue to share his or her concerns with the surgeon," Cooper noted.

Study co-author Dr. Gerald Hickson is senior vice president for quality, safety and risk prevention at VUMC. He said that "we need to reflect on the impact patients and families experience from these avoidable outcomes.

"From conservative economic estimates, the cost of addressing the excess surgical complications could amount to more than $3 billion annually."


What to read next
POST Online Media Contact