Disruptive Behavior and Bullies in Medicine

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“Micro-Aggressors” in Healthcare

[By staff reporters] http://www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org

Every workplace has “micro-aggressors” or/or bullies that exhibit disruptive behavior.

But, when the workplace is a hospital, it’s not just an employee problem.


Microaggression is a term coined by psychiatrist and Harvard University professor Chester M. Pierce in 1970 to describe insults and dismissals he said he had regularly witnessed non-black Americans inflict on African Americans.

In 1973, MIT economist Mary Rowe extended the term to include similar aggressions directed at women; eventually, the term came to encompass the casual degradation of any socially marginalized group, such as the poor and the disabled.




Case Report

In one reported case, the worker, felt threatened: His superior came at him “with clenched fists, piercing eyes, beet-red face, popping veins, and screaming and swearing.” He thought he was about to be hit. Instead, his angry co-worker stormed out of the room.

But, it wasn’t just any room: It was in a hospital, adjacent to a surgical area. The screamer was a cardiac surgeon, and the threatened employee was a perfusionist, a person who operates a heart/lung machine during open heart surgery. In 2008, the Indiana Supreme Court ruling in Raess v. Doescherupheld a $325,000 settlement for the perfusionist, who said he was traumatized.


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