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Hospitals try to calm doctors’ outbursts

Boston Globe, August 11, 2008
During an operation at a Salem, MA, hospital in 2007, an orthopedic surgeon was frustrated by a pair of scissors that wouldn't cut, and threw them. He narrowly missed a nurse. In many hospitals, outbursts from a top surgeon who generates significant revenue or a star researcher who wins huge grants often have been tolerated. But in this instance, North Shore Medical Center disciplined the doctor who threw scissors and required mandatory team training for all operating room staff under a recent policy requiring physicians to treat their colleagues with "civility and respect." The hospital is part of an emerging effort to crack down on what some call healthcare road rage, inspired by a growing body of research suggesting that swearing, yelling, and throwing objects are not just rude and offensive to co-workers, but hurt patients by increasing the likelihood of medical errors.