Rude Doctors

        Blog pal Ted Lehmann ( sent this link from the New York Times, and I thought folks would enjoy it.

        It is sad but true; some Docs can be downright disrespectful. 

        Believe it or not, the study of what to do about this has become a science.  There is a Doctor from a famous institution in Tennessee who has studied the phenomenon in quite a bit of depth.  He is the South’s (maybe the world’s) leading authority on disruptive Docs and the impact they have.

        His institution began to realize the bad actors were not only a frequent target of litigation, but they had a negative impact on patient care and the overall quality of the institution.  They set out to develop a program to try and rehabilitate these guys.

        I’ll never forget the first conference of this Doc’s I went to.  He told the story of having to confront a Doctor who was rude to everyone in his path.  The Doctor studied the data.  (Doctors like science)  

        When confronted with the mound of scientific evidence compiled in charts and graphs, the Doctor looked at it all and said, “I knew I was an ass^*!$, but I didn’t realize I was the worst ass^*!$ in the hospital.” 

        What a legacy!

        Y’all check out the Times article.  I ‘d enjoy your comments on the subject.

Dr. B

The Six Habits of Highly Respectful Physicians

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14 Comments on “Rude Doctors”

  1. Amber Says:

    Yeh, I had a beauty recently. Gosh this guy went to charm school Ill tell you. A new Neurologist. Young guy… didn’t know his butt from his hands – you get the drift. So, Im sitting there, and he’s asking my history blah blah blah. So I tell him about the PTC and history… multiple shunt revisions blah blah.. Then I go onto the recent seizures and what they THINK is BFS. He looked at me and scoffed and said “BFS isn’t any big deal”. I looked him straight in the eye and said “Yeh, ok sure, no big deal when you can no longer write your own name, feed yourself, dress yourself, cook a basic meal for your family, you are in agonizing pain, your bed shakes from your muscles shaking it so bad it feels like an earthquake and you are constantly exhausted. Yeh, its really not that big of a deal huh?”. The idiot!

    I have to wonder, where these doctors learn to have any kind of common sense. I mean, if they know about a disease surely they know people suffer?? I mean its not like something even unseen as Fibromyalgia or CFS. You can see my muscles twitch with your own eyes. You can feel my body shaking. What the heck???

    Do you think its because I don’t look sick Doc? I have to wonder??? RUDE!

  2. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Amber,

    Yeah, most of the ones I know are good to folks, but every once in a while one comes along….

    Im medicine, like the rest of life, I believe in a life of grace and dignity.

    Dr. B

  3. Cindy Carter Says:

    I had an experience with a rather rude Dr. myself. I decdied that if he was good at what he did, I would rather him be the best surgeon for the job than for him to have really good bedside manner. I had t have my ACL replaced two years ago.

    The first time I met the doctor, he did not even introduce himself. He came in, told us what his “assistant” had surmised from the initial exam and what he was willing to do for me. Then he abruptly left.

    I complained to the nurse that he never introduced himself to me nor my husband. Nor did he shake hands with anyone. She went out and said something to him about how I felt. He promptly returned to the room and asked “Who needs a hug?”. You get the idea.

    He had a supporting staff that had the personality. The gist is though he was good at what he did. My leg is a good as new.

    The cardiologis that my husband had during his double by pass…was both good at what he did and very personable too.

    The way I look at it. My husband’s surgery was life and death…mine was not.

  4. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Cindy,

    Every so often a high powered consultant is mean, but so good I advise my patients to put up with it if they can.

    There aren’t many old and mean Family Docs, though. They usually don’t last, though some do somehow.

    Dr. B

  5. Cindy Carter Says:

    To be honest, I have to admit that I think that the Doctor respected me more because I called him on his rudeness. After that, when he came in the room, he would make the offer to shake hands. No small talk though….

    He actually said on that first visit that he should not have to introduce himself because his name was on his jacket.

  6. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Cindy,

    He probably did. A funny story here. My dentist (now retired) went to school right after WWII. They had a professor who was exceptionally mean.

    One boy sat in the back and never said a word. One day the professor cursed him.

    The boy walked up front and was most calm. He said, (paraphrased) “Sir. I am here on the GI bill. I fought for my country in the Pacific. I went thru hell. I came here to get an education. I am not one to cause trouble. After what I’ve been through I expect to be treated with respect. In the war I had to kill many a man. I want you to know if you curse me again, I will kill you.”

    The boy went back to his seat. He never caused any trouble. Neither did the Professor.

    Dr. B

  7. pandemonic Says:

    I guess there are less than stellar people in every career, Dr. B. I know we have a few in my line of work.

  8. drtombibey Says:


    It all comes down to the individual human being, huh?

    Dr. B

  9. Mrs. Chili Says:

    Really, are we asking more than common courtesy? I don’t think so. Sadly, “common” courtesy isn’t so much common anymore, it seems…

  10. drtombibey Says:


    Common courtesy is indeed the ticket. So easy to do and yet so hard to come by.

    Dr. B

  11. azoptimist Says:

    Enjoyed reading insider’s perspective on “rude doctors.”

    Dr. B, do you think an overhaul in our current insurance/HMO system may change rude doctor’s attitudes (I once heard doctors were required to see x number of patients per day. Are patients mere “products awaiting shipment [get in and out of the office] on assembly lines?”).

    Some of my friends are very caring, kind-hearted doctors.
    Unfortunately, there are a few “rotten apples” in every barrel!

    I’ve bookmarked your site! Keep those thoughts coming!

  12. drtombibey Says:


    Absolutely. I am not sure how medicine got to be a business, but the system does the best it can to beat the compassion right out of you.

    I always tell my patients we should deal with all that foolishness as fast as we can and spend our time talking about their troubles. I look at all the red tape and aggravation as the ticket price for the privilege of seeing the patient- just something to end run, and unrelated to helping anyone.

    It is a high price, though. By some estimates the administration of the thing is 40%, and all by folks who don’t know a myocardial infarction from passing gas.

    You’re right. Most Docs care a lot, and keep on in spite of the hypocrisy of mega million dollar insurance execs.

    Sadly, though, I suppose the rude Docs will always be with us, too. Thank goodness they are a minority.

    Thanks for dropping by. I have having a lot of fun with the site. It is my new hobby after my kids grew up and left the house, and I am making new friends all over the world.

    Dr. B

  13. cathy Says:

    the whole rude dr thing reaches new heights in women’s health. we know something’s not right, we’re doubled over in pain, or pregnant and feeling like the baby’s going to fall out whenever we’re in an upright position, and we’re patronized and treated like it’s all in our heads. this happened with the results of 5 consecutive er visits until i was sent across the street to an ob who pushed me back across the street to take out half of the works with parentinitis and ruptured cysts the size of a grapefruit the ultra sound tech said, eh, 2cms max about for 3 days running. and later, luckily i was able to have another baby, but after 2 miscarriages from the same ‘feel like it’s falling out’ problem, i put myself to bed, and didn’t stand fully upright again until 9 mos later, and yup, she fell right out.

    graphic , i know. but there’s nary a woman i know who has not had a similar experience.

  14. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Cathy,

    We are lucky in that we have a lady Doc in our practice. Some things are harder to get if you haven’t been there, and she has been an invaluable resource.

    Dr. B

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