Being Rude to Your Doctor Could Be Bad for Your Health

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In the interests of not being a jackass, 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 analyzed 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 ER on Friday night, but the conclusion is probably the same either way: don’t be an asshole in the hospital. Especially if your newborn baby is dying at the time.

[Pediatrics via The Conversation]

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