Medical residents afraid to challenge doctors' orders even when they're wrong

Medical residents hesitate to challenge doctors' orders even when they are wrong, according to a study published in the Canadian Journal of Anesthesia. Researchers, led by Dylan Bould, M.D., of the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, simulated a scenario in which a doctor told residents to give a patient, who was a Jehovah's Witness, a blood transfusion against the patient's wishes. None of the 49 residents questioned the instruction, and in follow-up interviews spoke of both the need to keep their heads down within the hierarchy and the belief that any medical errors would be blamed on the doctor. Several interviewees described a fear of angering their supervisors. Study abstract