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Boorish behavior by doctors can lead to medical malpractice

Wisconsin medical patients may want to observe their physician's interaction with the staff the next time they visit the doctor. New studies among health care workers have revealed that bullying and disruptive behavior among doctors and nurses is common. Some workers say that this behavior is leading to medical malpractice.

In a recent survey of over 4,500 health care workers, over 77 percent of respondents said that they had witnessed disruptive or bullying behavior among doctors. Another 65 percent said they had seen such behavior from nurses. Two-thirds claimed that the disruptive behavior had led to medical errors, and one-third said the behavior contributed to a patient's death.

Studies show that only three percent to five percent of doctors engage in this type of behavior. However, those doctors can cause a significant number of problems. Studies have shown that over 40 percent of a health care organization's malpractice claims come from five percent of doctors. As an example, a perfusionist won a $325,000 settlement against a cardiac surgeon for threatening and traumatizing behavior during a medical procedure.

Medical malpractice can lead to painful injuries, life-long trauma and medical expenses for a patient, and it could lead to financial and emotional hardship for the patient's family. Victims and their families may be entitled to financial compensation and could possibly benefit from speaking with an attorney. An attorney may be able to examine the case, file claims, present supporting evidence, question expert witnesses and negotiate any potential settlement to maximize financial compensation.

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

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