'Badmouthing' another doctor never a good idea

February 25, 2011

Refrain from making negative comments about another medical professional for several reasons.

Key Points

Badmouthing" another physician is never a good idea, regardless of how tempted you might be in some instances.

Refrain from making negative comments about another medical professional, however, for several reasons:

RAMIFICATIONS ARE VARIED

The ramifications are various for the physician about whom negative comments have been made.

If the commentary occurs in a hospital or clinic setting-or even in a group setting-other providers and staff members (such as office managers, administrative assistants, and receptionists) may worry that their reputations could become tainted. Other doctors, nurses, staff members, administrators, and, of course, other patients, may not want to work with the physician whose reputation has been tarnished. An administrator who is looking for a new job may not want to take a chance to go to work for a doctor whose reputation now is in question. A covering physician may not want to work with the one who has been badmouthed.

WHAT IF YOU ARE THE ONE WHO IS BADMOUTHED?

What should you do if another doctor makes negative comments about you?

WHY DOES IT HAPPEN?

Often, when one physician makes negative comments about another doctor to a patient, it could signal an ego problem. Badmouthing may arise from professional jealousy, envy, or grandiosity. In such cases, in the perpetrator's mind, his or her standing may be elevated when the other person is disparaged.

Using more primitive psychological defense mechanisms, one physician who speaks negatively about another doctor may be projecting his or her own insecurities and/or past mistakes on to others. If you are on the receiving end of such behavior, consider that a professional may not like you simply because you remind him or her of someone he or she dislikes.