When doctors are bullies, patient safety may suffer

When doctors are bullies, patient safety may suffer

xxx-hospital-cover-4_3_r536_c534-300x225Every workplace has bullies. But when the workplace is a hospital, it’s not just an employee problem.


The worker, according to court documents, felt threatened: His superior came at him “with clenched fists, piercing eyes, beet-red face, popping veins, and screaming and swearing.” He thought he was about to be hit. Instead, his angry co-worker stormed out of the room.


But it wasn’t just any room: It was in a hospital, adjacent to a surgical area. The screamer was a cardiac surgeon, and the threatened employee was a perfusionist, a person who operates a heart/lung machine during open heart surgery. In 2008, the Indiana Supreme Court ruling inRaess v. Doescherupheld a $325,000 settlement for the perfusionist, who said he was traumatized.


It’s enough to make any patient wonder: Just how well does my health care team get along?


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Courtesy of  Kim Painter, Special for USA TODAY

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