They're god-sent souls who cure people and help in chasing away diseases. But what happens when a doctor becomes patronizing, especially when a person is in pain? Well, the patient feels like 'killing him', that's what a new research suggests.
The urge for a patient to kill his or her doctor is apparently not uncommon, especially among patients who are in pain, undergoing physical rehabilitation or seeking legal compensation for disability.
In the research, conducted by David Fishbain and colleagues at the University of Miami, Florida, it was found that just over 1 in 20 of roughly 800 physical rehabilitation patients admitted feeling like they wanted to murder their physician.
Even amongst a control group, who were not being treated for any condition, slightly fewer than 1 in 50 said they had previously had the same urge.
Few doctors are actually killed by their patients, but many are attacked and injured. Understanding who is likely to have a wish to harm, and why, could help reduce attacks, reports New Scientist.
Fishbain says that distrust of doctors often underlies the problem. Involvement in a disability compensation case is, for example, an important predictor of what he calls the "kill-MD" urge.
He says that patients often become angry because they feel that their doctor will not support their compensation claim.
Being in pain, perhaps not surprisingly, was another factor influencing whether patients felt murderous desire.
The work was presented at the American Pain Society meeting this month in Tampa, Florida.