ER doctors who are downright rude

United States
January 10, 2007 8:41pm CST
I live in a small town with only 1 hospital. Several weeks ago I took my sister-in-law, who was in a manic episode, to the hospital because she would not go with anyone else. She was seeing a doctor but had not yet been told she was manic. Her husband called ahead and explained the situation to the ER and asked them to call her doctor for instructions on how to treat her. When we got into the room with the ER doctor she told him she had come for back pain because in her manic state she was experiencing this pain. He bluntly told us that you don't come to an ER for back pain. Excuse me but I thought the ER was for any acute problem. When I asked him to call her doctor and she would explain the situation he said she did not work in the ER. My sister-in-law was threatening to leave, after they had been trying to get her admitted somewhere to begin treatment without having her committed for weeks, I demanded that he call her doctor on the phone so she could describe her problem to him. He finally did and came in with a totally different attitude. Luckily I kept her there long enough for her to begin treatment and transfer to another facility. She is now being treated for this and doing much better. Why do doctors have to be so rude and arrogant. I thought they took an oath to help everyone in need.
7 people like this
40 responses
@Ariana17 (92)
• United States
11 Jan 07
I have to go to the ER a lot. I keep having random pains that they can never figure out. Last time I had to go back 3 times before they figured out it was my gallbladder. I had to have it removed it right away. Even though they kept missing what was going on they were always very nice to me. I've been to the hospital so many times but I've never had a Dr. treat me like that. I understand that they have stressful jobs but they chose this career nd they had no right to treat your sister-in-law like that bad day or not
2 people like this
• United States
12 Jan 07
So glad your experiences were good. Hopefully there are more good experiences than bad for the majority of people. Thanks for your comment.
@wahmoftwo (1298)
• United States
11 Jan 07
I haven't ever had a doctor treat me like that, but was treated like I was the dumbest person alive when we took my son to the ER once by a nurse. She was an older lady and came to the window when we rang the bell. My son was about 18 months old. He woke up with a small blotch on his tummy (this was a Sunday mind you). I gave him a dose of benedryl and applied some hydrocorizone to the blotch. A couple of hours later, there were MANY blothces. Some under his arms, in the diaper area and on his chest (most of them under his chothes). I started to panic. That is when we went to the ER and encountered this nurse. When she asked what the problem was I told her that my son had a rash. Her reply was WHERE? Accomponied by this you are nuts look. I told her it was under his clothes and she said "we get rashes all the time in the summer." Well that may be so, but this was MY child and I felt that he needed to be seen. When the doctor came in he was very nice and helpful. He gave us a cream that helped the rash go away. I was not about to leave that unchecked for almost 24 hours until the doctor's office opened though. Some people shouldn't work in the medical field. They don't have enough empathy.
2 people like this
• United States
11 Jan 07
You are so right. When it is your loved one and especially your child you want something done. They often act like we should be doctors ourselves and know what is wrong. If that were the case we could hang out or sign and make as much money as they do. Glad you got it resolved. Many serious illnesses start with just the sign of a rash.
1 person likes this
• United States
12 Jan 07
Understand that ER doctors are under alot of stress and have to really watch who they give pain meds to.I agree that he did'nt need to be that way but you don't know what kind of day he had before you got there.Point is he did finally call the other doctor and did take care of your sister-in-law like he was suppose to.
2 people like this
@meeshee1 (188)
• United States
11 Jan 07
I agree. It is absolutely disgusting the way I see some of these people in healthcare treat patients and their families. Even the religious hospitals are doing it now. I am floored by how insensitive and downright RUDE they can be toward people. There is no excuse for treating people in need of medical care or their families the way they do. NONE.
2 people like this
@Pekachu (1114)
• United States
11 Jan 07
I dont care for doctors much either when my son was bore he was born with prader-willi syndrome something that is usually not diagnosed until they are 11 12 years old but luckily a genitics specialist was on hand and recognized it in my son so any way here i am just gave birth to him found out he had this i still wanted him circumsized and the doctor says whats the point! i will never forget that needless to say im not fond of doctors
2 people like this
@Duvessa (914)
• United States
11 Jan 07
When I had to go to the ER a couple of years ago for cutting my wrist (No I didn't try to kill myself, it was more of a thing that I remember watching while I was floating above myself seeing myself cut my left wrist, like in a movie sort of) Anyway, the doctor that treated me was a mega b**ch. She kept asking me why I'd tried to kill myself & I kept telling her that I hadn't and I don't remember what exactly had happened. Yeah you'd think doctors would be a little more caring & considerate.
2 people like this
@shogunly (1406)
• Libya
11 Jan 07
Being a doctor myself i have worked in E.R. settings , I know it can be tiring ,frustrating and sometimes even boring . 1. you have to deal with all sorts of people from psychiatry cases to assault and crime cases to life-threatening conditions and of course the plague of every health institute -malingerers and hypochondriacs . 2.you have precious little time to determine the priority and degree of emergency of each case , while patients can be extremely uncooperative and sometimes even hostile . 3.doing a critical and very important job with little credit in return . an example of that is you always remember the name of the doctor who performed surgery on you or a dear one , you never forget the name of your GP , but the ER doctor who ends up saving people from bleeding, heart attacks, strokes ,suffocation etc usually are forgotten the next day . 4. the futility sometimes gets to you , like when you labour for hours on a patient only to watch him pass away in the end . 5.sometimes , believe it or not , you just don't know what to do next, and you feel extremely angry at yourself . All this can be nerve-wrecking . On the other hand , doctors are notorious for patronizing patients and people in general and i think the explanation for that is since they make a career of "fixing" people , they can't help but feel superior than others and more intelligent , as even the greatest scientist will go to a doctor for help when he catches a cold or steps on a rusty nail etc. I think calmly and gently asking the doctor for help and advice will soothe any workplace stress the doctor might have and he will then proceed to make himself the most useful to you that is possible . That is better than getting upset and complicating the problem .
• United States
11 Jan 07
Thank you so much for being so complete and putting it in a simple terms that most of the general public can understand in explaining the other side of this. I am sure that we don't always understand the stresses that doctors have and I know there are always some out there like yourself. Would you like to come work in a little town in Georgia???
@shogunly (1406)
• Libya
11 Jan 07
That would be a dream come true for me . I do not currently reside in the US , so working anywhere in the US is great !
@oarnamav (2708)
• India
11 Jan 07
I think you should also think about the other side of the coin. The doctors have taken oath, but this does not mean that he is supposed to work for you all the time like a maid servent or your own family doctor for all the patient inyour village. Do you know what density of doctors should be their per hundred people? Is your government aware of this. Are they enough? Who will care this. I think before blaming social workers one should look into their own conscious, that how much do they owe the society & are they perfect in this oath. Please don't mind, but stop your habbit of blaming and claiming on others, sometimes you don't have a chance of doing this. It's our own destiny and hard luck. Rude person arround you is just a cause
• Pakistan
11 Jan 07
it is true tht doctors hav a tough routine at hospitals...but being a doctor they must b polite n nice to their patients n must not let their tiredness n irritations come over them...im also a doc n have faced probs from patients relatives side alot...but being a doctor i alwaysa try to b honest wth my profession...
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Jan 07
Good for you and wish there were more that felt that way.
• India
11 Jan 07
OK this one is difficult....i have worked in er and i can understand that...but when there are 25 patients and only one doctor then he tends to get frustrated, come on u have to give him a break...afterall who would spend the whole night working to take care of the sick and not enjoy or sleep soundly like the rest??? Also i would like to mention that the majority of patients turn up late in er as they do not want to come in the daytime and ruin their workday,...so most patients are just "i have a pain here, i have a headache, i have a stomachache since two days" etc.. if u were really sick 2 days back u should have consulted your family physician and not turn in er....ER is only for seriously ill patients like trauma or acute pains... and not for routine doctor calls.......and every patient wants to be treated first regarsless of how many others are waitin to be treated and no matter if they are even more serious then him,,,,, So its like that the doctors are not rude but the general attitude of the people gets them frustrated......come on they are there to help, we took an oath....but you have to treat us like human beings and not like magicians who can take all your ills away with just one injection or pill.........
• United States
11 Jan 07
I see your point, but he knew that she was in a manic state because I told the girl who checked us in and watched her talk to the doctor about it because I could not even get my sister-in-law into the hospital at first. I know that there is indeed frustration and an over-whelmed feeling in the bigger hospitals, but again this was a small hospital with only 3 rooms in the ER and only patients in 2, one of which was us.
@clarity (65)
• United States
11 Jan 07
Where we live ER Drs. are contracted from outside the hospital. I had a real nasty one that treated my autistic son for seizures. It was before my son was diagnosed, and I didn't know why my son was so hyper. The ER doc gave me the look that I was the most rotten mom that set foot on the earth. I wished I would have had the guts to report him.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Jan 07
Me too but we live and learn. Hope your son is doing okay now.
@loujac3 (1188)
• United States
11 Jan 07
slanderson, I use to work in a hospital and I would see all kinds of situations. It is very upsetting to be ignored or treated rudely. All patients should be treated with dignity, even those that come in and act totally out of control. The first thing to do, of course, is to insure the safety of all those concerned. I have also been the patient going in for emergency care and having to wait is not pleasant and when you are under stress it is even worse. I had a reaction to a medication and was having trouble breathing. Scary and the doctor was slow in responding. I understand how understaffed hospitals can be but having to wait when under duress is not good. Nurses are treated rudely and must follow the orders of the M.D.'s. They are also underpaid for the work and dangers they are exposed to. When you have a good nurse, let her know that she is appreciated. When a doctor talks down to you, speak up. Demand respect! You are paying him, not him paying you. Too many doctors think too highly of themselves. No matter how minor or major the situation is, all people deserve to be heard and treated correctly. Good luck in the future and be strong. Good luck to your sister-in-law! I suffer from PTSD and I have occasional panic attacks and getting help is very important. Thank goodness for friends who reach out to help each other!
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Jan 07
Thank you for this input. It really helps to see how people in that field see it from the other side. I know a lot of nurses are treated badly by doctors and am thankful for the many great nurses we have. Most of the time they are the ones who know the patient's better than the doctors since they are with them more and I think the doctors forget how useful the nursing staff are to them. We did have some great nurses once she was put in a room and am so thankful for that. They too were very, very busy, but came back to bring me a blanket several hours later to cover with that night, as we had to stay with her 24-7 and she didn't forget that I needed one. Maybe it is just that women have the ability to handle more than one thing at a time.
@KrauseHome (35037)
• United States
11 Jan 07
Doctors took an Oath? Since when? I hate to say it, but I have seen a couple of Rude unorthodox drs. in my lifetime, and most of them have only been in the last 1-5 yrs. Sometimes I think anymore, they tend to think they are Right no matter what the situation, and you are over reacting, or such when you feel they do not have your best interest in mind. I am Diabetic, and Insulin Diabetic now due to some issues that Doctors never wanted to deal with until I ended up in the Hospital myself for like 5 days. I suffered from Chronic wounds and the Doctors blamed it on me, instead of worrying about my Sugar levels. It was rediculous, but amazing that on Insulin the Wounds completely healed themselves. So, to me, Doctors are way far from perfect.
• United States
11 Jan 07
Hooray for you! There seem to be more and more of them that think they are never wrong and the patient is just a stupid person for trying to input on their problem. If they would listen a little better people like yourself may not have to suffer as much or as long.
• India
11 Jan 07
Doctors have to be rude to thier patients coz patients have innumerable questions and giving answers to each and every thing irritates them a lot secondly, if they will spend more time on one patient then they will be missing out on giving care and treatment to others.
1 person likes this
@katyzzz (2902)
• Australia
11 Jan 07
I understand how you feel but they work in a very stressful area and are often overworked. Unfortunately some doctors are ignoran pigs, much as I hate to say it. Hope everything is going well now.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Jan 07
Better but still working on the meds to get them right. There are definitely some of the bigger hospitals that have more patients that are stressful, but not in this little community. I know their job isn't easy but that is what they chose to do and there are definitely some ignorant people in all fields.
@yorb24 (2181)
• United States
11 Jan 07
That's terrible. I've never experienced anything like that myself or with relatives I've gone with. I live 10 minutes from a very large city. Good thing you went along with her. She might have not been able to get the help she needed with anyone else or just herself.
• United States
11 Jan 07
Definitely, she would have left if I had not been there to convince her to stay until he talked with her doctor when I finally got him to call her. I had to get in front of her several times and almost beg her to wait.
@emeraldisle (13146)
• United States
11 Jan 07
Oh I have had my share of rude ER doctors. With myself when I went in with what turned out to be pnemonia I had a nurse bending over one arm so I couldn't move it and the other she was hooking something up to it. I started coughing and the doctor starts lecturing me about covering my mouth. Little hard when my arms are held down don't you think? Let alone going in for a migraine and having them put you next to a woman who is screaming her head off every two minutes. I came close to homicide that day. HOwever the rudest I ever saw was when we took my niece to the ER. She'd been stung by a wasp on her toe. By the time the doctor saw her she had swelling up to her knee. Her response was, "That's normal and we don't have time for this." She then kicked us out of the ER. We rushed my neice to another hospital and by that time the swelling was almost to her privates. They treated her immedietly and couldn't believe what that other doctor had said.
@rick615 (413)
• United States
11 Jan 07
There could be several reasons, but the the easiest to understand is that doctors are people too. This means that among all the nice, good ones, there are also rude, arrogant jerks. Ok, maybe more than in the general population, but that's open to debate. As far as the attitude, some ER docs are frustrated because 90% of what they see are not true emergencies. I live in a small town as well and the statistics are really the same. Further, back pain and headache are the two most cmmon complaints; and back pain is not an emergency more than 98% of the time. Not an excuse for his behavior, just an explanation. I think the doctor was wrong here. I think you did the right thing by insisting on appropriate care. Just please don't judge all physicians by this encounter. The mojority are still out there trying o help people.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Jan 07
You are right there are more good than bad and there are times we definitely need them. It is a shame a few bad apples have to spoil the bunch.
@lucy02 (5017)
• United States
11 Jan 07
I think its because they know you have to see them since they are the only doctors there. They still get paid so they don't care how they treat you. It's the same way at the hospital in our town. Plus some doctors (ER or not) just don't know how to treat patients with mental problems. The minute they find out there is some mental problem they stop listening or so it seems. I know this isn't true of all doctors but it is of many.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Jan 07
Yes I think that is part of the problem too. They will get paid no matter how they treat the patient, which is why he was not successful in starting his own practice here in this town. Many people did not like him so he went to the hospital ER.
• Philippines
11 Jan 07
is there a department where you can complain these things? He is a professional he should know how to professionally handle patients (clients/customers). I pissed with these kind of doctors too. not only patients who are sick that they should take care they should take car also the professional relationship with other clients
• United States
11 Jan 07
There is a professional to complain to and we are in the process of doing that along with the local newspaper. Not sure this will help but if the bad can be weeded out then maybe the hospital will grow which it has not done in the last 20 years. My son is a EMT/firefighter and most of his EMT/firefighter coworkers say that this particular doctor is not liked by the personnel there or the community.