Disruptive patients remove the focus of the physician from the illness to the patient’s whims.
(Mirror Daily, United States) – Usually, people don’t go to the doctor because they want to chat. Something bothers them, and they already feel vulnerable. And there are a lot of individuals out there who don’t react well when feeling down or in pain. But according to two separate studies, bad patients receive worse care, so you should watch your temper when deciding to visit the doctor.
Studies suggest that bad patients receive worse care than people who let the doctors perform their duty without interruption. And the physicians don’t do it on purpose; they get distracted by the fits of rage, or tantrums, or patients who subtly, or, not so subtly, offer them their own diagnosis and treatment advice.
Silvia Mamede, a doctor who worked in both cited studies, declared that bad patients receive worse care than quiet, undisruptive ones because the current physicians can’t concentrate when consulting them.
According to Dr. Mamede, fifteen percent of all patients are disrespectful, distrustful or overly demanding. Because of their attitude, physicians usually can’t focus hard enough and end up giving a wrong diagnosis.
Because it is almost impossible to study the disruptive patients – doctors relationship in real life, a sample of physicians were given an assortment of scenarios about disruptive and neutral patients. The first ones were the ones that acted helplessly, ignored the advice of doctors or made frequent demands.
The doctors that participated in the study were then asked to give a diagnosis according to the information provided by both “patients”.
According to Donald Redelmeier, a core scientist at the Toronto Evaluative Sciences Institute who wrote a commentary on the study, the approach used by the researchers is reasonable, feasible and ethical.
In the first study that gathered a sample of 63 doctors that practiced family medicine, the physicians made forty-two more oversights when dealing with disruptive patients than when they had to diagnose a normal, well-behaving one. In the case of the latter, the mistake percentage was of only six.
In the second study, the one in which the researchers analyzed the response of 74 residents of internal medicine, the conclusion was the same. Bad patients receive worse care than good ones.
In the case of the residents, the misbehaving patients were poorly diagnosed in twenty percent of the times.
There are no details in the study to indicate whether the wrong diagnosis was completely off, or just slightly different than the diseases that the patients actually suffered from.
Bad patients receive worse care mainly because they make the doctors pay more attention to them than to their medical conditions.
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