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Teachable Moment
Physician Work Environment and Well-Being
October 4, 2021

Addressing Biased Patient Behavior: A Teachable Moment

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • 2Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare System, Ann Arbor, Michigan
JAMA Intern Med. Published online October 4, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2021.5719

A patient was admitted to a medicine service for treatment of newly diagnosed cancer. The team caring for the patient comprised a medical student, intern, senior resident, and attending physician.

During bedside teaching rounds, the student reviewed the treatment plan. The patient thanked her for the update and complimented her appearance. Sensing boundary violations, the attending physician requested the patient keep the conversation professional and restated the role of the medical student. The encounter continued and the patient referred to all team members professionally thereafter.

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    1 Comment for this article
    Another common bias
    Ronald Hellman, MD, MS | Former Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Ichan School of Medicine at Sinai, New York
    In addition to age, race, sex, and ethnicity, sexual and gender orientations are known to elicit bias from patients.