The Law Offices of Brian E. Quinn

Has someone accused you of being a disruptive physician?

After completing many years of education and perhaps research, you may feel you have earned the respect and consideration of your colleagues as well as others on the medical staff where you work. You may be proud of your knowledge in your field and have little tolerance for those who do not give their full effort and attention to the serious work of practicing medicine.

With that being said, you may not be surprised when others take offense at your comments. When you offer criticism or instruction on how nurses or physicians can improve the quality of care they provide, you may hope they accept your words in the spirit in which you offer them and for the wellbeing of the patients. Unfortunately, you may find yourself accused of disruptive behavior.

The broad definition of disruptive behavior

Contrary to providing the assistance and counsel you may have intended, disruptive behavior is a charge that means others interpret your words and actions as having a detrimental effect on the quality of care the medical staff can provide to patients. Medical care often involves teamwork, and when members of a medical team feel berated, disrespected or mistrusted to do their jobs by one member of the team, it may affect the care of the patients. Disruptive behavior may include any of the following or other actions:

  • Using offensive language with others on the staff
  • Shaming nurses or other doctors
  • Behaving abusively to patients, whether to their faces or behind their backs
  • Having outbursts of anger or violence
  • Refusing to cooperate with coworkers

Additionally, if nurses or other doctors feel intimidated by a physician, they may feel reluctant to bring matters related to a patient's condition to the attention of the physician. If someone on your team attempted to approach you for advice or a consultation, and that team member felt your reaction was abrupt or insulting, you may face allegations of being a disruptive presence.

Is there trouble ahead?

In many cases, doctors who demonstrate disruptive behavior may have an underlying issue, such as illness, burnout, substance abuse or depression. On the other hand, it is possible that the person making the accusations simply misinterpreted your behavior.

No matter the circumstances, it is important to know that if the accusations lead to disciplinary measures, you may have a serious matter to deal with. Such issues are often a matter of your word against the word of another, and it may be a challenge to defend yourself without solid legal advice. Seeking the counsel of a Pennsylvania attorney if you face this situation is a wise move.

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Philadelphia, PA 19102

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