Quantcast

Throwing the doc under the bus: Undermining trust and the doctor - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

WNCN News

Throwing the doc under the bus: Undermining trust and the doctor-patient relationship

Posted: Updated:
Dr. Kevin Campbell Dr. Kevin Campbell
RALEIGH, N.C. -

We ALL try to do our very best for our patients.  Often the decisions we make have profound impacts on outcomes.  

Medicine is NOT always "cut and dry" and many times gut instinct and judgement calls must play a role in choosing therapies for patients (especially when made in the setting of best available data).  As it is in most professions, "Monday morning quarterbacking" frequently occurs in medicine as well.  It is much easier to make decisions and treatment choices when looking back on a case from the other side–it is much dustier in the trenches of an ongoing illness.

Today, in the New York Times, author Pauline Chen discusses the consequences that occur when doctors publicly (in front of other patients or colleagues) criticize another medical professional.  It is only human nature to want to present ourselves to our patients as the expert in a given area–the doctor with the best chance of making them better.  Unfortunately, some providers routinely make negative public comments about other physicians' abilities or treatment decisions.  Even though these comments may be accurate and well substantiated, these types of comments ultimately harm the patient and the healthcare system.  Certainly, many physicians see "protecting" patients from harm or substandard care as part of their job–rightly so–however, there are much better ways to accomplish this goal.

During training, even though much time is devoted to cultivating a culture of respect for and collaboration with colleagues from different specialties, incidences of "throwing {other doctors or teams} under the bus" can occur on a regular basis.  Fatigue and the pressures of training often play a role in the poor judgement associated with making derogatory comments.  In my experience in training these comments were often made between physicians of different specialties–such as internists vs. surgeons.  In training turf battles between specialties often deteriorated into negative commentary about the physicians or specialties in general.  These bad habits often translate into future lapses of judgement when in practice.  Instead of the sleep deprivation and military style training experienced by residents, pressures for increased productivity, increased documentation and higher volumes create the "mental fatigue" and frustration for the practicing physicians.  No physician is immune as we are all human–I myself have been guilty in the past of making negative comments about another physician who had a very high major complication rate in the Electrophysiology Lab.  Although my motivation for my comment was protecting patients from an incompetent surgeon, my course of action was flawed.  In the end, the physician was fired BUT, by making public comments concerning his abilities, I undermined the trust that patients have in their doctors.

It is essential that patients are able to trust their doctors to provide competent, compassionate care.  It is also essential that physicians stand up for their patients and speak up when they see care that it not up to standard.  However, physicians must utilize proper channels for addressing peer to peer related performance issues (such as medical staff QI committees, etc).  

Badmouthing colleagues reflects poorly on everyone involved and jeopardizes the doctor-patient relationship.  A recent study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine explored the impact of doctors criticizing other doctors.  In the study the researchers found that critical comments were most often made about physicians in different specialties and resulted in higher levels of patient distrust in physicians in general.  It is very clear that we must do a better job of training physicians to work in a more collaborative way–constructive criticism (in the proper setting) can be beneficial to everyone.  However, publicly throwing a colleague "under the bus" is never the right answer.

  • Health with Dr. CampbellMore>>

  • Dr. Campbell: New drug may be heart health game changer

    Dr. Campbell: New drug may be heart health game changer

    Monday, September 15 2014 5:00 AM EDT2014-09-15 09:00:15 GMT
    A new drug may reduce risk for death in congestive heart failure (CHF) and many scientists consider this to be a blockbuster game changing therapy.
    A new drug may reduce risk for death in congestive heart failure (CHF) and many scientists consider this to be a blockbuster game changing therapy.
  • Dr. Campbell: Respiratory illness outbreak spreading across the U.S.

    Dr. Campbell: Respiratory illness outbreak spreading across the U.S.

    Monday, September 8 2014 9:38 AM EDT2014-09-08 13:38:33 GMT
    A respiratory illness outbreak is spreading throughout the Midwest and flooding hospitals with sick children.
    A respiratory illness outbreak is spreading throughout the Midwest and flooding hospitals with sick children.
  • Dr. Campbell: Backpack safety

    Dr. Campbell: Backpack safety

    Monday, August 25 2014 5:00 AM EDT2014-08-25 09:00:15 GMT
    As Students in our area go back to school, most will purchase a new backpack in order to carry essentials to and from school. It’s important to talk about keeping kids safe ---backpacks can result in back injury, but there are strategies to help you and your student pick the right type of backpack and use it properly, avoiding serious injury.
    As Students in our area go back to school, most will purchase a new backpack in order to carry essentials to and from school. It’s important to talk about keeping kids safe ---backpacks can result in back injury, but there are strategies to help you and your student pick the right type of backpack and use it properly, avoiding serious injury.
  • Trending StoriesMore>>

  • SC high school students forced to remove US flags on Sept. 11 anniversary

    SC high school students forced to remove US flags on Sept. 11 anniversary

    Friday, September 12 2014 8:21 PM EDT2014-09-13 00:21:28 GMT
    Flags were displayed in pick-up truck beds... This flag is on the back of the pick up and is from a July 4th event unrelated to Woodruff High...Photo from Wayne Kinton on Twitter ?@WayneKinton Flags were displayed in pick-up truck beds... This flag is on the back of the pick up and is from a July 4th event unrelated to Woodruff High...Photo from Wayne Kinton on Twitter ?@WayneKinton
    Several upset parents say Woodruff High School students were made to remove American flags from their vehicles on September 11.Spartanburg District 4 Superintendent Rallie Liston said four students arrived at the school Thursday morning with U.S. flags prop
    Several upset parents say Woodruff High School students were made to remove American flags from their vehicles on September 11.Spartanburg District 4 Superintendent Rallie Liston said four students arrived at the school Thursday morning with U.S. flags prop
  • American extremist from NC reveals his quest to join ISIS

    American extremist from NC reveals his quest to join ISIS

    Wednesday, September 3 2014 5:23 PM EDT2014-09-03 21:23:46 GMT
    Just a few weeks ago a Catholic-born, American man –- a former military school student, special forces aspirant, law enforcement officer and bodybuilder -- set off on a path far from any he'd envisioned for himself as a kid in North Carolina: on the other side of the world, in Lebanon, he was trying to figure out how to get into Syria and join ISIS, the most radical, bloodthirsty terrorist group of our times.
    Just a few weeks ago a Catholic-born, American man –- a former military school student, special forces aspirant, law enforcement officer and bodybuilder -- set off on a path far from any he'd envisioned for himself as a kid in North Carolina: on the other side of the world, in Lebanon, he was trying to figure out how to get into Syria and join ISIS, the most radical, bloodthirsty terrorist group of our times.
  • Woman charged with murder after stabbing man in neck

    Woman charged with murder after stabbing man in neck

    Sunday, September 14 2014 8:09 PM EDT2014-09-15 00:09:33 GMT
    Jakeya Karynne Davis, 34, of Durham, is charged with murder in the death of Marcus Anthony Keith.Jakeya Karynne Davis, 34, of Durham, is charged with murder in the death of Marcus Anthony Keith.
    Police say a Durham man was stabbed to death Saturday during what appears to have been an argument.
    Police say a Durham man was stabbed to death Saturday during what appears to have been an argument.
Powered by WorldNow

3221 South Evans Street
Greenville N.C. 27834

Telephone: 252.355.8500
Fax: 252.355.8568
Email: newsdesk@wnct.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.