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filmfann's avatar

Why have doctors become such antagonistic jerks?

Asked by filmfann (47850points) November 14th, 2015

I am nearly 60, and I have seen my fair share of doctors. Over the last few weeks, I have seen several new doctors, and I have noticed they are increasingly antagonistic, self-important jerks. These doctors are usually specialists. They are abusive know-it-alls, and often don’t shave.
Have you noticed this?
Do they consciously behave like House?
Do they think behaving this way will get them more respect?
What else could be their motivation?

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20 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

Doctors have always seemed that way to me. And it gets worse if you ask them an intelligent question.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Has not been my experience but I’m the worst patient, I second guess everything they do and basically don’t give them the chance to be that way. I don’t know how my doc puts up with it sometimes. I had one straight up tell me that he could tell I was an engineer lol. I’m lucky to have a couple of good docs and if they treat you this way then find another and respectfully warn others. Internet reviews are how a good number of people choose providers.

Jeruba's avatar

I see more doctors than I want to, and some number of them have been arrogant, condescending, and brusque. These traits don’t seem to correlate with incompetence, however. Maybe they’re really just overbooked and in a hurry, with no time for social niceties. I’d blame the insurance companies rather than the doctors for the very short time allowances.

The doctor who saved my husband’s life with a delicate surgery that had already been judged impossible acted as if he were descended from divinities and expected to be worshipped. In fact, if he’d ordered me to bow down, I probably would have. My husband is ten years past his surgery now with no recurrence.

If I just don’t feel comfortable with a doctor, I don’t go back. I find someone else. But I do try to make this judgment on professional and not personal grounds. I abandoned one because I thought he was a nut case and another because he smelled of alcohol.

Oh, yes, and one who was all right with me, but only moments before, I had heard him angrily scolding an elderly female patient who was having difficulty following his explanations and kept asking questions. I didn’t want to be at his mercy when my memory and hearing were letting me down.

For the most part, though, I see doctors who are courteous, intelligent, patient, humane, and skillful. And they are either clean-shaven, neatly bearded, or female. So I can’t support your generalizations.

jca's avatar

I had one who was a rude jerk and so I chose not to return to him. There are many doctors to choose from and my time is too valuable to be treated with disrespect by a doctor. Next!

ragingloli's avatar

I never encountered such a doctor.
Are you sure the problem is not with you?

Love_my_doggie's avatar

I find that many young male doctors are exactly as you describe. And, they’re no better in nonbusiness situations; they often seem to be arrested development cases, awkward, socially inept, and very boorish. This isn’t true for all of them, of course, but I do observe a pattern.

I haven’t found the same to be true for females doctors.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

My best guess – the practice of medicine isn’t what it once was, and these young men are living in a reality that falls far short of their expectations.

Not that many years ago, physicians were treated with esteem and did very well financially. My beloved uncle practiced as an M.D. for about 50 years; his work made him wealthy, and he treated every patient with kind, attentive respect.

Today, many offices look like small, private practices, but they’re actually owned by national companies. The doctors get paid a percentage of the revenuse they generate, so their incentive is to triple-book appointments and rush through as quickly as possible. If they don’t bring in enough business (i.e. dollars), they get dismissed; the pressure is enormous.

On top of all that, insurance companies exist to make profits and pay their administrative costs, not to provide healthcare benefits. Anyone billing an insurance company can expect a paperwork nightmare and skimpy reimbursements.

talljasperman's avatar

You would be angry too If you were $200,000 in debt and had no respect.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

You are so accurate with your description. You try to tell them something and they just cut you off and continue with their long spiel. Very few are the down-to-earth ones.

dappled_leaves's avatar

To be honest, I’ve only seen one doctor who behaved the way you described, and he was an old white guy, some 15 years ago. I haven’t noticed the trend you’re talking about, and I’ve seen young doctors and specialists from time to time.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Like @zenvelo, I don’t think this is new. I’ve seen quite a few specialists over the years and yes, a number of them are arrogant, somewhat condescending and rude. I have to say the arrogant, rude specialists were older males. However, I’m too old to put up with their crap these days, so I continue to ask them questions and insist on answers. Younger, and particularly female specialists have not exhibited these traits so hopefully it will disappear when these older doctors retire.

2davidc8's avatar

It’s not just doctors. My CPA is pissed off at me because I pointed out a mistake he made.

jerv's avatar

Look at it from their perspective. Many are still crushed with student loans, some of their other patients are impossible people who do things like thinking they know more than the doctor because they read something on WebMD, and a lot of them work longer shifts than the eight hour workdays that most people have.

In the past, student loans were less crushing, and there was no WebMD to make people second-guess everything doctors say. And we won’t even get into the hassles of insurance beyond saying that doctors often have their hands tied by red tape, they deal with a lot more of it too (take the red tape you cut through for your own care, then multiply it by however many patients that doctor has), and it gets frustrating enough to make some people rather unpleasant.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Having just been through contact with doctors (all specialists) I have not had those experiences. They could have ran their initial test and said nothing was found and kicked me free, but they always gave me the option to accept the recommendation they had to do further test, etc. to determine if there was something the less sensitive might have missed. And it was a good thing they did and I listened.

Darth_Algar's avatar

I’ve seen numerous doctors in my life and haven’t noticed really noticed this. There’s been one GP that I left simply because I found it difficult to understand and communicate with him (English was not his first language and even after a couple of decades in the US he still seemed to not have the best grasp of it). Aside from that my experiences with doctors (save for one dentist) have been anything other than what you describe. Maybe the issue lies more with the patent than the physician.

augustlan's avatar

I’ve run across a few docs like this, but a few of every-other-profession, too. The vast majority of my experiences with doctors (and every-other-profession, too) have been good. Maybe it’s just been a spate of bad luck?

@Hypocrisy_Central Hope you’re okay!

jca's avatar

I would hope that with online review systems, people review when there’s something significant, and that might be a hint to the doctor to stop acting like a pompous ass.

lasuz's avatar

I worked for doctors over a period of probably twenty years. I refused to work for the ones who were legends in their own minds. I worked for caring, committed doctors who appreciated what I did for them and cared about their patients’ well-being.

There are good and bad in any field.

If you feel this way about all doctors perhaps it is something about you.

jerv's avatar

I’m sorry, I can’t hold this one in any longer…

Because the BBC cast a Scotsman as The Doctor, and all the other doctors are emulating him!

ragingloli's avatar

The Doctor on Star Trek Voyager was also quite abrasive.
As was Doctor McCoy on TOS and Dr. Pulaski on TNG.

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