Rude patients could alter the medical care they receive from their doctors, according to new research. After evaluating the performance of 39 neonatal intensive care unit teams, scientists concluded that being polite with the medical staff is essential in receiving better services.

The research, published in the journal Pediatrics, concluded that parents should be very careful with their attitude when it comes to protecting their children's well-being.

Rudeness Could Cost You Your Child's Life

As part of the study, scientists evaluated the proficiency of the medical service when it comes to children with different health issues, ranging from severe respiratory distress to hypovolemic shock. The simulations of emergency situations were carried out by people with different types of behavior. As part of a workshop, there were two randomly assigned teams, representing the rude group or the control group (with neutral behavior).

As part of the rude group, a patient's mother made different comments not related to the team's performance. Additionally, there were two more teams manifesting either a preventative (cognitive bias modification) or therapeutic intervention.

According to the research, the teams which had the patients with rude behavior consistently performed worse compared with the control group, being deficient in all 11 of the study's criteria, among which are diagnostic and communication.

"Rudeness has robust, deleterious effects on the performance of medical teams. Moreover, exposure to rudeness debilitated the very collaborative mechanisms recognized as essential for patient care and safety. Interventions focusing on teaching medical professionals to implicitly avoid cognitive distraction such as CBM may offer a means to mitigate the adverse consequences of behaviors that, unfortunately, cannot be prevented," concluded the research.

The medical teams were deficient in properly doing their jobs in all five rudeness situations they were exposed to, and the negative effects of their rude patients' behaviors lasted throughout the rest of the day.

"[Rudeness] is actually affecting the cognitive system, which directly affects your ability to perform. People may think that doctors should just 'get over' the insult and continue doing their job. However, the study shows that even if doctors have the best intentions in mind, as they usually do, they cannot get over rudeness because it interferes with their cognitive functioning without an ability to control it," noted Amir Erez, Ph.D., member of the research team.

Highly Biased Medical Care

The situation assessed by the current research concerning the pediatric facilities is far from isolated. Another research, conducted by Johns Hopkins researchers, showed that more than a quarter of a million deaths can be attributed to medical errors every year in the United States.

"The science of safety has matured to describe how communication breakdowns, diagnostic errors, poor judgment, and inadequate skill can directly result in patient harm and death. We analyzed the scientific literature on medical error to identify its contribution to US deaths in relation to causes listed by the CDC," noted the research.

According to these studies, it is best for the patients not to manifest their rudeness, as even with the best intentions in mind, the medical staff will not be able to get over their cognitive biases and will be unable to perform their tasks as they should.

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