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Bullying among medical professionals may lead to negligence

Texas residents likely did not hear about a case in which a hospital worker was rewarded a $325,000 settlement for a workplace incident in 2008 involving harassment by a superior, but the case exemplifies an issue that has been generating mounting concern in the industry. The worker served as a perfusionist, or the operator of a heart and lung machine during an open heart surgery, when a cardiac surgeon confronted him with anger for an unknown incident.

Unfortunately, employee bullying is not uncommon in hospitals where tension is high and everyday procedures come with a life or death risk. The chance of surgical error increases when doctors are distracted by their workplace relationships. Injuries, complications and even death can result from conflict between workers, leading to a medical malpractice suit from the victims or their families. 

Possible solutions to this dangerous problem include peer-to-peer counselling or even a formal intervention program. Vanderbilt University introduced a “distressed physicians” program in 2004 that boasts a more than 50 percent success rate. However, most cases go unreported, with patients feeling insubordinate to their health professionals. Experts suggest that patients immediately speak up to the hospital administrators to prevent further negligence or risks during future procedures.

Whether your hospital visit is for a serious surgery or a routine procedure, medical negligence is a severe danger to your well-being. You could suffer a misdiagnosis or improper care at the hands of a trusted healthcare professional who is distracted by workplace complications. A skilled medical malpractice attorney may be able to work with your case for proper compensation due to a medical error by collecting evidence against your physician. Your medical history may be recorded for any discrepancies, and medical experts may be called in for further analysis.

Source: USA Today, “When doctors are bullies, patient safety may suffer,” Kim Painter, April 20, 2013