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How bad bedside manner can become medical malpractice

On Behalf of | Jan 7, 2024 | Medical Malpractice

Massachusetts residents always want to be treated with respect when they see their doctors. Unfortunately, not all doctors have the best bedside manner; some are rude and even dismissive. This is when that attitude crosses the line into medical malpractice.

Bad bedside manner explained

Bedside manner is the way a doctor interacts with patients. Although some medical professionals are very attentive and compassionate, others are cold and don’t try to assuage a patient’s fears or concerns. In most cases, this doesn’t automatically equate to medical malpractice, but it can leave patients feeling unhappy and misunderstood. Patients are also less likely to continue seeing doctors with bad bedside manners or recommend them to family members or friends.

When bad bedside manner becomes malpractice

Sometimes, bad bedside manners can become medical malpractice. Doctors are obligated to listen to their patients, hear their concerns and answer their questions in ways the patient understands. They must communicate effectively, or the patient may leave dissatisfied and uncertain about the care they’ve received.

If the doctor fails to take the patient’s concerns about symptoms into account and doesn’t order diagnostic tests, it could later lead to the patient suffering harm due to a misdiagnosis. For example, a woman sees a doctor complaining about a pain in her chest that’s written off as a pulled muscle. However, later, she sees another doctor for a second opinion and learns she has stage 3 breast cancer. This is a situation that can be deadly and is a prime example of medical malpractice.

Patients who suffer harm must advocate for themselves. They could file a complaint with the hospital the doctor is affiliated with and even the state medical board. A medical malpractice claim might be the best course of action.