You Might Be A Disruptive Physician If...Avoiding the Disruptive Physician Label - Part 2

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

This is the second blog dedicated to physicians who are accused of being a disruptive.

To read part 1 on the types of conduct that might make you a "disruptive physician," click here.

Consequences of Disruptive Physician Behavior.

According to one article on the subject by a physician leader, the consequences of disruptive behavior by a physician in a hospital are as follows:

Disruptive physicians undermine morale, diminish productivity and quality of patient care, and cause work environment distress leading to heightened employee turnover.  One survey found that most nurses believe physician disruptive behavior causes stress, frustration, impaired concentration, reduced collaboration and communication, and potentially negative patient outcomes.  Another survey found that nurses see a direct link between physician disruptive behavior and nurse satisfaction, retention, and the quality of the nurse-physician relationship. Other consequences of disruptive physician behavior include disciplinary actions, dysfunctional physician colleague activities (e.g., coverage, leadership, peer review, referral, etc), and compromised communication within and efficiency of healthcare teams.  (References omitted.)

To see the entire article, click here.

"Disruptive Conduct" by the Physician Will be Linked to Patient Safety.

Hospitals and medical staffs are being inculcated with the idea that "disruptive behavior" by a physician undermines patient safety and is a risk to patient care.  This will be the basis to support action against a physician's medical staff membership and clinical privileges in a privileging action by the medical staff.  It will also be relied upon by the state medical board if a complaint is filed against the physician's medical license.  It will also be the basis of upholding a legal challenge if the physician challenges the medical staff action in court.  The courts will usually defer to the medical staff of the hospital in such matters and not want to overturn its decision.

If you want to see what hospital and physician executives think about disruptive physicians and how to deal with them, click on this article.

What to Do and Not Do.

Know what is considered to be conduct that exemplifies a "disruptive physician."  Avoid outbursts of anger; they may make you feel better in the short run, but in the long run, you are hurting yourself.  Hold your tongue.  Avoid sayings anything that one could take offense to. If you are so weak willed that you cannot control yourself, maybe you do have a problem.

No one lives in a glass house, but pretend you do.  Always think that someone can overhear or oversee what you do or say in the hospital.  Everyone is human; everyone has shortcomings, even you.  If you become known as a disruptive physician, everyone will be looking for anything you do wrong, and they will find it.

If you receive any complaints or reports insinuating that you are being tagged as a disruptive physician, whether it is informal counseling by a colleague or a formal warning in writing, take immediate actions to address the concerns.  This may include, for example:

1.  Educating yourself about the issue with the articles that appear on the internet.

2.  Seek professional counseling; maybe you do have too much stress or an anger management problem.

3.  Seek assistance from an experienced health attorney;  you may be being set up for subsequent adverse clinical privileging action.

4.  Avoid every type of conduct listed above.

5.  Respond to the complaint or counseling, but do so with your attorney.  You must keep an even, objective, neutral, non-accusatory tone to your response and not attempt to point a finger at others.  Avoid the temptation to do so.

6.  Read our other blogs and articles on this on our website.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced with Investigations of Health Professionals and Providers.

The attorneys of The Health Law Firm provide legal representation to physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, CRNAs, dentists, pharmacists, psychologists and other health providers in Department of Health (DOH) investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigations, FBI investigations, Medicare investigations, Medicaid investigations and other types of investigations of health professionals and providers.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at

About the Author:  George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law.  He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice.  Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area.  The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone:  (407) 331-6620.

Tag Words: physician, doctor, discipline, physician complaint, physician report, disruptive behavior, doctor complaint, disruptive physician
"The Health Law Firm" is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. - The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
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