Being Rude to Your Doctor Could Be Bad for Your Health

By Chris Mills on at

In the interests of not being an idiot, you should probably be nice to your doctors. But if common courtesy isn’t a good enough reason, a recent paper suggests you’ll get worse medical treatment if you’re worse.

The experiment put 24 different medical teams (1 doctor, two nurses) in charge of a newborn baby with necrotizing entrocolitis (NEC), an inflammation in the intestines which can lead to tissue death.

Rudeness came in the form of a welcome message from another physician: in half of cases, he said that he wasn’t impressed with the quality of care provided by medics from whichever country the team was from; for the others, no such assaults on their professional dignity.

The teams’ performance was analysed by a board of independent experts, with slightly scary results: the teams that were insulted prior to the test performed noticeably worse, taking longer to diagnose and treat, with a worse overall outcome.

Of course, there’s a lot of difference between a medical study and an A&E centre on Friday night, but the conclusion is probably the same either way: don’t be a wanker in the hospital. Especially if your newborn baby is dying at the time. [Pediatrics via The Conversation]