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Comfortable with your surgeon having a temper tantrum?

Tantrums are expected with small children, who may be in the process of socialization where one learns to share and work with others. They are not expected of doctors in an operating room, where their tantrums may endanger patients and other medical staff during the procedure.

Yet doctor bullying, ranging from berating nurses in expletive-laden excoriations to throwing blood-contaminated surgical instruments at them are far more common than you would expect from image of a sagacious-oracle of medical knowledge and wisdom that most doctors prefer project.

Almost 74 percent of nurses have been subjected to condescending or demeaning comments or insults, "condescending or demeaning comments or insults," by physicians. A quarter report doctors throwing objects at them and almost half have shamed and humiliated by doctors.

The same culture that permits this type of behavior also keeps quiet about it, as nurses fear for their jobs, should they question or provoke a powerful surgeon or doctor in their facility. But that behavior may result in more than just harm to a nurse's career.

Patients are at risk when doctors refuse to listen to nurses or when the nurses are so intimidated by the doctor that they won't question decisions or object when they recognize that patient care is being compromised.

Nurses are highly trained and an important part in the healthcare process and allowing them to be treated like second-class citizens in the operating room does little to help patients, while ignoring the problem adds one more unnecessary risk patients do not need.

Source: Slate, "Doctors Throwing Fits," Alexandra Robbins, April 29, 2015

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