In , Dr. Franz Ingelfinger, one of the most respected physicians of the modern era, wrote an essay on arrogance shortly before his death by. Arrogance. Creator. Ingelfinger, Franz J. Bibliographic Citation No Thumbnail [ %x] · Arrogance . Ingelfinger, Franz J. (). Thumbnail. Yet, at the same time there is a belief that doctors are arrogant and misbehave. But in his essay on arrogance, Franz Ingelfinger, MD, noted a.

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I am a physician, and I don’t think I am more arrogant than non-physicians.

I Don’t Think Physicians Are as Arrogant as You Do | HuffPost Life

While patients and media frequently accuse us of behaving arrogantly or poorly, I’m not sure these are fair generalizations. In addition to my long career in medicine, my family and I just spent four months intimately involved with physicians and the health care system.

Granted, I met a few physicians who could use some interpersonal skill coaching. But, for the most part, they were caring, “normal” people. I am not convinced that, as a group, physicians are any more arrogant than lawyers, business men and women, politicians or university professors. So, why the bad rap? A recent Gallup poll found that people still routinely rank physicians amongst the top three most respected professions. If this is the case, what is it about the health care system and the experience with a physician that brings out negative feelings?

I Don’t Think Physicians Are as Arrogant as You Do

You have just arrived in the emergency room with crushing chest pain and now find yourself flanked by an emergency room ingelginger and a cardiologist, neither of whom you have met before. What qualities would you like to believe that they possess? Mere mortals like yourself, or confident, skilled physicians with the experience ingelfiner make the right decisions that will alleviate your illness.

Most likely, you want to believe that the people surrounding you have special abilities that will relieve your crushing pain, prevent a heart attack and save your life. Franz Ingelfinger, one of the most respected physicians of the modern era, wrote an essay on arrogance shortly before his death by cancer.

He believed that the ingelfjnger must see their physician as a benevolent authoritarian figure arrogznce the experience and competence to recommend advice they will accept. Now, before you get all red in the face and upset, stick with me just a little longer. I recently went through the ups and downs of the health care system with my wife, who was critically ill.



We were dealing with numerous variables and options. Although I am a physician who understands all the fancy words and jargon, I still arrogannce someone who I felt would make the best decisions.

We all purportedly desire to actively participate in our care, but I don’t think this means that we want a physician who will serve us a cafeteria line of options and tell us to take our pick. Of course I want to hear the options, ingelfinyer then I want my physician to recommend the course of action that he or she thinks will prove most effective. It is not arrogance — it is confidence. Ingelfinger called this sort of interaction “beneficially arrogant. While some physicians may still behave poorly, I believe that physicians are no more vain or insolent than any other group of people.

This does not discount many of the complaints of arrogance, nor does it imply that there is no room for improvement. The current health care system depersonalizes the doctor-patient relationship and “created a kind of ‘ system arrogance’ in which the patient is seen not ingelfihger a person but merely as a job to be done cost effectively.

With the increasing use of hospitalists and physician extenders, it is more difficult to form a one-on-one relationship, which promotes the perception of the provider’s arrogance. Thirty years ago, Dr. Ingelfinger wrote, “Efficient medical practice, I fear, may not be empathic medical practice, and it fosters, if not arrogance, at least the appearance of arrogance.

The physician’s knowledge of the body and ailments places them in a potential position of dominance. Once a physician recognizes this, he or she may become arrogant.

That arrogance may manifest itself as:. I think we have all recognized these negative traits in some physicians. Where do they come from? Is the behavior hard wired or is it learned from the wrong type of role models during training? In his article “On Humility,” Dr.

Franz J. Ingelfinger – Wikipedia

John Coulehan states that, “Today, Ingeldinger suspect that few students regard character formation as part of their medical education at all and even fewer consider humility an ingredient. Role models are critical to maintain a healthy attitude during training, and I was fortunate to have two spectacular role models early in my medical education.


Reflecting back on my long career, I don’t think I ever met an arrogant pediatrician. However, some specialties are arroganfe story. Although medical schools are placing greater emphasis on teaching empathy, I like Dr. Ingelfinger’s process for screening applicants — “That only those who have arrogaance hospitalized during their adolescence or adult years be admitted to medical school. Such a practice would not only increase the number of empathic doctors; it would also permit the whole elaborate system of medical school admissions to be jettisoned.

Of course, should that system fail, we could fall back on my long-held belief that every medical and nursing student should lngelfinger forcibly constipated for three days. They would immediately develop compassion and empathy for the patient who refuses to go to therapy until their problem is relieved. Perhaps I am wrong. I guess I do know more than a few arrogant physicians. Medical culture can encourage assertive behavior, arrogance and a sense of entitlement.

Edmund Pellegrino, in his chapter on human dignity, pointed out that “indifference, ineptitude and arrogance are transmissible. We must speak up whenever we witness arrogance in medicine and ongelfinger aspects of our life. Why do we pay any attention to people who behave like Donald Trump? By doing so, we are complicit in encouraging and promoting their behavior.

At the rarogance of this new year we should try on a little bit of humility. For more by Richard C. For more on mindfulness, click here. News Politics Entertainment Communities. Opinion HuffPost Personal Videos. Just to be clear, I fully expect many of you to disagree with me and I welcome your comments.

That arrogance may manifest imgelfinger as: A failure to listen to a patient’s and family’s problems. A lack of respect and good manners towards staff and patients.

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