Conflict resolution in the healthcare environment

Nobhojit Roy

DOI: 10.20529/IJME.2010.065


How would you like to be a passenger in an aircraft, where the senior pilot and the co-pilot were having a loud altercation, just a few minutes before landing? This would be rather upsetting. You don’t really care about “their” issue, you just expect them to get their act together and be “professional”. After all, your life is in their hands, and nothing else is really more important. Sourabh Aggarwal and his co-authors have described a similar situation in the hospital setting. A faceoff between the surgeons and anaesthetists over an operation theatre scheduling issue paralyses work and there seems no way to resolve the stalemate. Never mind the patient on the table, he does not matter. The situation described is lamentable with each department stubbornly adhering to its position. On behalf of the fraternity of senior clinicians, I do apologise to all medical students for setting such a bad example. Ego-wars, doctors fighting in the corridors and even throwing surgical instruments in the operation theatres are everyday life occurrences in the hospital setting. Yet most medical students and practitioners seem to have happily internalised these conflicts, over the years, aided by our famous Indian laissez-faire “chalta hain” attitude. We would, however, be less forgiving if this were done by the pilot.

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