Alarming Number of Patients Think About Killing Their Doctors

By Melissa Lafsky | May 21, 2008 4:25 pm

doctorWhile tales of patients murdering their medical care providers are very real and very tragic, they’re also rare. But a disturbing new study indicates that thoughts of killing doctors occur more frequently than we might think, particularly among patients who are in pain, undergoing physical rehabilitation, or seeking compensation for a disability.

New Scientist reports that psychiatrist David Fishbain and his colleagues at the University of Miami, Florida, surveyed around 800 physical rehabilitation patients and found that just over 1 in 20, or around 5 percent, admitted that they entertained thoughts of murdering their physician. In a control group of people not in treatment for any condition, around 2 percent reported having felt the desire to kill their doctor in the past.

Fishbain speculates that these urges are related to distrust of physicians, particularly related to disability compensation cases—if a doctor won’t support the patient’s claim, the latter often feels betrayed and angry. Recently, doctors have started apologizing to patients for mistakes in order to curb malpractice lawsuits—an approach that appears to be working. Maybe it’s not a bad idea to start having similar sit-downs with patients litigating over disability.

  • acai berry diet

    thats just crazy

  • Berry Huh

    Hey very nice blog!

  • Local Internet Marketing

    It could be because if a Doctor cant diagnose them, they blame them. Glad I’m not a doctor


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!


Quirky, funny, and surprising science news from the edge of the known universe.

See More

Collapse bottom bar