Epilepsy Talk

Doctors behaving badly…  | November 17, 2021

We all have had at least one experience when a doctor either behaved badly or treated us in a way we didn’t feel we deserved.

“He could have spoken with a bit of respect,”  you might mumble to your husband.

But what do you do when the experience with a doctor takes a sharper turn?

What if he doesn’t believe your symptoms or validate your experience?

What if he doesn’t take into account your pain before beginning an in-office procedure?

The shock, fear, and disappointment of having a bad doctor experience can be daunting.

What can you do?

Should you do anything at all?

The answer to that, I believe, is always “yes.”

You may have heard the saying, “The customer is always right.”

You’re still a paying customer in the doctor’s office, and you know your body and your needs better than anyone else.

So, if you are unsatisfied with your experience, you should speak up!

Any patient in a hospital, when we take their clothes away and lay them in a bed, starts to lose identity.

Could this be you?

“When I was getting my first ever gyno exam at age 21, I winced at the pain of her inserting the speculum, and she scoffed and said, ‘Oh stop, it’s no bigger than your boyfriend.’” — Nicole, 23, New York, NY

“When he was working on a filling, my (former) dentist said, ‘Oops.’ I think there are certain people who must remove words like ‘Oops’ from their vocabularies: surgeons, ob-gyns, bridge engineers. Dentists, who literally work inside your face, fall into that category.” — Marian, 26, San Diego, CA

“When I told my ob-gyn (who I had been going to for years) that was I thinking of becoming a single mother he said, ‘You will never date again, no man would want you.’ And he said that I should take the money I had saved and ‘buy a condo in South Carolina.’ I didn’t stay long enough in his office to ask, ‘Why South Carolina!?’” — Jo, 48, Brooklyn, NY

“Mid root canal, I heard the oral surgeon curse loudly enough for me to take my earbuds out, just in time to hear her say, ‘I can’t believe I just did that! Well, we can fix it, I guess.” — Melissa, 25, San Francisco, CA

“I have deformed, arthritic hips and went to a very famous holistically-oriented doctor to see if there was anything I could do instead of surgery. He swiftly handed me a script for 90 Oxycontin with refills. ‘I don’t think I need a drug addiction on top of my other problems,’ I told him. ‘Oh you won’t get addicted,’ he pshawed. This was years ago, but I don’t think he ever read a newspaper.”  — Sara, 51, NY

“I was undergoing fertility treatments and feeling really hormonal from the drugs. When I told my doctor, he said, ‘I think you need to get out of the house more. Why don’t you get a job at the mall?’ As if working at Cinnabon was the answer.” — Cathy, 39, Seattle, WA

Truth is stranger than fiction…

An Arkansas doctor with a love for weapons of mass destruction or a Delaware pediatrician with a basement dungeon!

If you thought the details of Joan Rivers’ death from complications during a routine endoscopy couldn’t get any more shocking, you’re wrong: Rumors surfaced today that the gastroenterologist who performed the procedure, allegedly snapped a selfie of himself moments before the procedure.

In 1999, a New York City surgeon carved his initials (a large A Z, if you’re interested) into the belly of a patient after he performed a Caesarean section.

In 2000, a surgeon left in the middle of surgery to run to the bank and cash his paycheck. He told his stunned OR team that he’d be back in about five minutes; he returned 35 minutes later.

It’s in the records…

If results from national survey can be believed, more than 2 in 3 U.S. doctors witness other physicians disrupting patient care or collegial relationships at least once a month.

More than 1 in 10 say they see it every day.

The survey involved 840 doctors, most of them leaders in their own physician communities.

“Disruptive physician behavior is the issue that just won’t go away,” says Dr. Barry Silbaugh of the American College of Physician Executives, which sponsored the project with the help of a Massachusetts-based group called QuantiaMD.

“Our profession is still plagued by doctors acting in a way that is disrespectful, unprofessional and toxic to the workplace.”

The college, he wrote, hopes the survey will shine a light on “the shadowy, dark corners of our profession” where doctors act in arrogant, demeaning and even physically violent ways.

Silbaugh likened it to pilots “fighting in the cockpit.”

He says stress, long hours and red tape contribute to the bad behavior.

“It’s not getting any easier in this era of reform,” he notes, “where the rules seem to shift from day to day and the financial rewards may be shrinking.”

A 14-page white paper put out by the ACPE cited these examples:

A prominent surgeon’s habit of degrading comments aimed at nurses and support staff eventually resulted in “shoving and pushing…in the OR.”

A doctor who was being monitored because of a long history of rudeness again yelled at a nurse, resulting in “a significant medication error and harm to a child.”

A male doctor created “an intolerable work environment for a female physician” through “condescending, bullying” and refusing to acknowledge her supervisory role.

Three-quarters of survey respondents say they’re concerned about disruptive behavior by fellow physicians.

Virtually all say it affects patient care.

A little over a quarter of doctor-respondents admitted they had been guilty of disruptive behavior at one time or another.

The most common reasons, respondents say, are workload and behaviors learned in medical school.

More than half the doctors surveyed say they’ve witnessed other physicians yelling, flinging insults, refusing to cooperate with other health care personnel and refusing to follow established rules.

Less frequent but not uncommon: Discriminating against colleagues or patients (24%), inappropriate jokes (40%), profanity (41%) and spreading malicious rumors (21%).

Least common, but disturbing, were cases of throwing things (14%), retaliating against perceived slights (13%), substance abuse (14%) and physical violence (3%).

The survey found mixed responses when it asked doctors how well they think their hospitals or practice organizations deal with bad behavior.

Perhaps not surprisingly, female doctors were less comfortable reporting or confronting instances of disruptive behavior.

Respondents say health care organizations should develop clear policies and procedures for confronting bad behavior, disciplining it and preventing it by improving the culture of the medical workplace.

There’s no way to know if the survey is representative.

Nearly 10,000 doctors were invited to participate, but fewer than 10 percent did.

“It is possible that the respondent group was either more interested in or more likely to have experienced or witnessed disruptive physician behavior,” the white paper acknowledges.

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  1. In my experience doctors are not thoroughly looking at of for the injuries from the Epileptic Seizure(s) as was the past weeks. Nor have I had a thorough Neurological assessment for the “you’ve come to the hospital now we will do OUR assessment!”
    Certain times I’ve been in the hospital and I’ve declined the IV not anything else, the staff relays that to the doctor stating “this patient does not want ANY blood work done!” Making invisible and I can’t tell the doctor what I really did say because the nurse trumps my words!!
    At least at that hospital!!!

    I still don’t understand why the hospital staff as a hole doesn’t update themselves on Epilepsy and not just call it “seizures” when you get to the hospital!
    I wear Medic Alert jewelry the first thing it states on my wallet card and my jewelry is “Epilepsy” not ‘seizures’.

    I’ve had experiences where when I was almost ready to be released from a hospital 3 years ago but a doctor requisitioned a lot of pain killers in those pill cup. I asked to read the requisition and yes the doctor, I forgot his name now; did want me to take a lot more the 4 pain killers before I left the hospital. The nurse couldn’t believe that I wanted to clobber the doctor for writing that! He, himself gave me some fruit juice and asked me to take what I thought that I needed, if I needed any pain killers for my head ache at all and a few sandwiches since I was there for 7 hours and a lot of blood was taken and came from my injury.
    All because of an Epileptic Seizure caused by severe stress of what happened that year 2018, 2019.
    “Home is where your heart is, not where you just lay your hat.”

    Then my Cat was stolen so were a lot of my personal belongings. Including mail that I’m oddly receiving 6-7 months later to another address then what I gave.

    It’s a personal and bloody nightmare, that the hospital’s, or (?)(?) don’t want to listen to!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Taima — November 17, 2021 @ 12:20 PM

  2. I was in the hospital having a seizure and I rang the requisite bell.

    Eventually a nurse appeared, raised the rails and asked if I was anxious.

    No (you idiot), I’m having a seizure.

    She quickly arrived with VALIUM and assured me I’d be ok.

    WHY aren’t ER and nursing staff trained to recognized to identify epileptic seizures and treatment?

    Were they asleep during that hour of training? GRRR.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — November 17, 2021 @ 12:27 PM

  3. Reblogged this on Ken's Devotions.


    Comment by Kenneth — November 17, 2021 @ 12:43 PM

  4. Last time I watched the documentary film of FBI files in the pursuit for ANGEL OF DEATH, I wondered how many Doctors & Nurses turn out to be murderers dressed in hospital gowns?
    As if the medical hardships are not already difficult enough to overcome, the abuse, maltreatment & negligence coming from the trusted professional medical personnel makes it hard to imagine & fathom, adding an insult to the injury.
    It would have been great for every hospital to establish Quality Control Department, where independent Inspectors could review the Doctors treatment of the patient & record the progress or demise of the patient on daily bases.
    Having independent Inspectors & review board could build strong confidence & public trust in the medical establishments, while barring the abusive & negligent doctors & nurses from practicing medicine & patient maltreatment again.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Gerrie — November 17, 2021 @ 1:59 PM

  5. There is such a board in THEORY, but it is impartial and doctors are loathe to speak badly of their own.

    So, consider it a plastic shell for publicity’s comfort, but in practice, not our own.

    The faults are “cited” and “monitored ” but little else.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — November 17, 2021 @ 2:06 PM

  6. I couldn’t lie to the whole thing but do you mention the doctors names to whom one should not go to?

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by s2linen — November 18, 2021 @ 4:32 AM

  7. Boy I’ve had a lot of real winners in my life. I love when they don’t know what’s wrong and ask me sarcastically what I think.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Hetty Eliot — November 18, 2021 @ 5:14 PM

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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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