“Threatened to kill us” Doctor-Patient Disputes – Causes and Remedies [

Part1]M3 India Newsdesk | Jun 29, 2017 Trends


The doctor -patient relationship is being increasingly highlighted. Nasty disputes between doctors and patients or patient’s relatives have been making headlines recently. With this background, we attempted to understand the Indian doctor’s views of this situation through an online survey.

To explore the views of the Indian doctors about the doctor- patient disputes; the incidence, common causes and suggested resolutions


The survey was conducted by means of a questionnaire sent to a random set of Indian doctors. The doctors were requested to respond voluntarily over a period of 2 weeks. A random sample of 159 doctors responded to the online questionnaire.
Summary of Responses

1 in every 4 doctors reported facing such incidences in the past 6 months.
Actual situations reported by the respondents

Treating highly anxious patients

“Perforation in TM present. Patient saw it on internet. A symptom of perforation was not with patient as mentioned on internet. He came and started telling you are fooling the patient.” (Age bracket 40’s, ENT)

“Patient of fever very stable in wards , with all reports being Normal, one day morning went to bathroom collapsed and died , may be v tach or massive MI , and relatives created a massive scene at the hospital and threatened our lives and told it is doctors mistake for patient’s death and tried to beat us and threatened to kill us” (Age bracket 40’s, General Medicine )

“Due to heavy rush in OPD I follow a strict numbering system. Many a times parents insist that their child be seen first as they think their child is more serious than others. This is true for every parent. Likewise, I was seeing a patient and another parent insisted that he be allowed to enter into the OPD room first as his number was very late. An altercation began and he became very aggressive and threw the OPD slip on the face.” (Age bracket 30’s, Pediatrics & Neonatology)

Over requirement

“Patients want the ICU doctor to talk to them whenever they wish. With heavy work load, when on duty, daily once counselling plus updates according to patients condition was my stand but they wanted to talk to the doctor too frequently and when objected to it, there was a heated exchange of words.( Age bracket 30’s, Pediatrics & Neonatology)

“Patient family wants a particular treatment protocol which is done in U.S. which doesn’t fit it our system. Hence had dispute.”( Age bracket 30’s, Oncology – Radiation)


“After explaining the total package for a surgery and admission for 5 days we have done the surgery. After 5 days, I wanted to discharge the patient at the told package cost. The patient wanted to get discharged after 2 days since they found that day inauspicious. When asked for the charges for the 2 extra days they told they will pay only the initial package cost. That led to an argument and finally they paid only 1 extra day charges and the 2nd day charges had to be waived off.” (Age bracket 30’s, Orthopaedics)

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