Modern Healthcare July 13, 2019
Dr. Curtis Mock and Stephanie Bartz

It was a perfect storm. Emily was in labor and not progressing. Richard had a fever and was unresponsive to antibiotics. Felipe needed to be intubated and transferred to a larger facility. As the situation escalated, the attending ran from the ER to the labor deck, shouting orders to move Felipe. When the physician returned to discover that the patient hadn’t yet been transferred, he snapped. The demeaning verbal onslaught was blistering and accusatory.

In the context of healthcare, most of us have been there—either delivering the censure or as victims of it. For those in charge, we blame the meltdown on some combination of inexperience and overwhelming workload. For those on the receiving end, there’s little to do other...