1 in 3 physicians reported mistreatment in past year

Nearly 30 percent of physicians reported experiencing discrimination and mistreatment from patients or patients’ family members or visitors, a study published May 19 in JAMA Network Open found.

Researchers surveyed 6,512 physicians nationwide about their experiences with mistreatment and discrimination from Nov. 20, 2020, to March 23, 2021. The research was conducted in collaboration with the American Medical Association.

Approximately 1 in 5 physicians experienced a patient or family refusing to allow them to provide care because of the physician’s personal attributes at least once in the previous year. Researchers also found that mistreatment or discrimination experience was independently associated with higher odds of burnout.

"This is a staggering number," said Lotte Dyrbye, MD, one of the study's authors and a senior associate dean of faculty and chief well-being officer at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. "Simply having patients or family members say, 'No, you can’t provide care because of the way you look’ — not because of competency ­— is really heartbreaking.'"

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